Monday, February 26, 2007

AHR front page design & strategy back on track

We knew developing a strategy for Act for Healthy Rivers would be a challenge. We knew conceptualizing the bits and pieces would be time consuming, if not frustrating. And we knew that at some point, all of us would have different ideas of what it should look like. Basically, we were right on all levels.

But I think that's a fairly typical design process too. Sometimes things have to get worse before they can get better. Fortunately, after taking a slight nose dive the other week, we've bounced back - it feels good to have direction, clarity once again. After a month of designs, I think we're in a good place to begin the build out.

We received the latest design Friday afternoon and as with the others it looked great, but more importantly, it struck a nerve. We loved the ghostbuster-like sewage pipe. The header image and the X-sewage pipe appeared to complement each other, also pop at first glance. Very cool.

My only concern with the above design - not enough to hold us back from building it out - is that the blog and map appeared to be two separate pages joined together. So, I proposed a hybrid (rough translation below) to our partners over the weekend.

Hopefully (you be the judge), our above efforts rest on three guiding principles:

  1. The site needs to accurately state the issue.

  2. The site needs to be a source of regular information on the issue and the progress of the legislation. (thus the sewage + blog = slog)

  3. The site needs to capture River Groups that are supporting this initiative, i.e. getting in the act.

One minute how-to: How to create a 2.0 org is a lot of fun. Each podcast is unique, creative, and engaging. A perfect opportunity to expand - if not further test - our outreach opportunities online, right?

But before I attempted to sell it internally, I felt I needed to go through the process myself. So, I recorded a show with George (for the music buffs, a must visit: EclecticMix) on creating a 2.0 organization. I've never been comfortable doing this type of thing, but it was actually a lot of fun (aside sounding like a tool).

As an organization, we recently recorded our first show, How to organize a river cleanup. This episode won't air until the end of March, but fortunately it's still in time for our April 15th cleanup registration deadline.

We'd love to do more too, possibly a podcast on how to nominate a most endangered river, how to build a rain garden, how to dismantle a dam, or how to designate a wild and scenic river. All would be great. The possibilities are endless and the process was simple.

George skyped me one evening (the river cleanup was over a land line, so that's possible too), we chatted about what would happen, and off we went with my first podcast.

If you're interested in doing a show, contact George directly to arrange a time. Maybe someone would be interested in doing a one minute how-to on video blogging, recruiting new visitors, writing a blog post...all stuff I'd love to see.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Google map for river cleanup registration working well

We have about 6-weeks left until the National River Cleanup Week registration deadline arrives and we've already exceeded last year's number of organizers by 50 - very cool! We've had a couple of hiccups early on with the Google-map-in-reverse strategy, but it seems to be working just fine now - I think it was (usually is) an issue with our language, not clear enough.

We've come a long way since our launch in December with 5 registrations. It's been fun as the department has been taking bets on how many cleanups will be organized (yes, I've been the skeptical one with the low number); makes it interesting when the Google map is populated in real-time. As of today, we have 219 registrations. Check it out.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Design elements of national site finalized

Let the coding begin! Today, our partners handed off the creative assets to our second half partners so that the back end work can begin Monday morning. We've come a long way since the early rounds of the wireframes.

I didn't plan for Convio's consultants to be involved in the process, but after a call between one of their tech guys and our team on the ground, I realized that it would be a big perk to have Convio involved for a couple hours a week to assist with questions that may come up (we use Convio's content management system).

We are on a tight launch deadline - April 6th - so a few extra bucks to ensure that we have a smooth migration/build out is worth it to me. With all of the players involved, I wish I was smart enough to have *blogged* the project for the purpose of group communication - sure would've cut down on a lot of back and forth email.

Anyhow, our front page is complete, as with the channel page (2nd level) and story page (3rd level). The only difference to the front page below is that we brought back the blue 'subscribe' box from an earlier version and now have two subscribe opportunities on the homepage, one at the top and one at the bottom of the page. We just like having the blue box at the bottom - kind of wraps everything up - from an earlier design.

Mock-up of front page
Channel pageStory page (minus header)

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

National site nearing design completion

We've taken left and right turns over the last couple of weeks, but with every turn we've seemed to bounce back and land in the middle. I was a bit frustrated with the last design, but it was my suggestions that pointed us in that direction. It's funny, though I know the colors, design structure, and direction of the site, once you see your ideas actually in place, it's easy to think, 'what was I thinking?'.

Compared to Act for Healthy Rivers, our national redesign is a little easier (design only, content is another story). Act for Healthy Rivers didn't exist previously, so we've been spending a lot of time with the strategy. But for our national site, we're coming from somewhere and that makes a big difference.

Our latest turn is a slight tweak from an earlier look. The biggest change from the first round is that we reduced the height of the header image from 200 to I believe 150 pixels. And we moved the 'Subscribe' box from the bottom and replaced the search box on the header - a much better call (thanks to an earlier comment that provoked greater internal discussion - and a gut check for me).

In order of the design flow, 1 being the first look:

#1 (cool, but the header image consumes the page)
#2 (Yikes, an effort to bring the content up to the front and center. It didn't work)
#3 (This one and #4 were presented to us this afternoon)
#4 (horizontal featured sections - white space in the middle - seems to work the best, but we'll have to take a little time internally to talk about it.)
The first look at an interior page, second level navigation. Good stuff.

We're still planning to hand over the creative assets to our second partners by Friday, so hoping to wrap the design side of things up in the next two days. Fingers are crossed.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

AHR's latest design misses the mark

The latest design for Act for Healthy Rivers took a downward turn. After the intervention last Thursday, we thought we were on the right track. But unfortunately not.

Basically, it was too much map, not enough of sewage + blog = slog. We want river groups to enlist, but the engine of the site will be the slog content which we will use to drive more folks to the site.

Though the newest design reflects a bit of miscommunication, we got ourselves on track this afternoon with a telephone call. Never underestimate the power of a call in times of frustration.

We're counting on the next round for that solid footing for moving forward. Act for Healthy Rivers' design process has seen a few different ups and downs, but I'm still confident we will end up with a great site - in fact, two great sites (Joe public site is still in the mix).

Monday, February 19, 2007

National site homepage: 2nd draft proposed

The biggest problem with the first design was 1) the amount of space the top image took and 2) the fact that the email sign-up box was at the bottom of the page.

Given that most of our content was below the fold with the first design, our request was to change things around and bring the content to the surface - as much as possible. However, despite our best effort, the second draft didn't seem to work either.

What I liked about the first design was the full-length header (awesome river image!) and bold but balanced look. The new full-length column (left) seems a little distracting to me as there are several different blues, different type of asks, and a lot of empty space. Basically, I think we took a step backwards with this design.

But I love the column to the right: press releases and a del.icio.usly fed section of River News. So cool. However, though design is great for show, my friend used to say, the "chrome doesn't bring you home. " The full-width image is great, and everyone who I've showed it too loves the look, but I still go back to the content. What new content will we provide? And how will we provide it? Over the next couple of weeks, as production continues, this will be my focus.

Production schedule set for national site build out

Our goal is still to go live with the new site prior to this April's big media event, America's Most Endangered Rivers. We usually see five times the traffic for a couple of days, so it's an opportunity for greater exposure that I don't want to miss.

Gearing up for next steps, our partners have created a production schedule based upon the anticipated finalization of wireframes and site design by Friday February 23, 2007. Anything later will cost us precious time early April.

The heat will be on for the next six weeks to build new templates, migrate content, create new pages (wiki, blog, google map), and make sure everything works. Note: the schedule below does not reflect the build out of the new features/pages mentioned above.

The schedule is broken up by our first level navigation - primary templates. We've attempted to front load the schedule with the low hanging fruit (based on content needs) and build up from there with increased relevance and complexity.

Friday February 23, 2007
- Final sign off on wireframes
- Final sign off on design
- All content transferred to partners
- Development of site begins

Wednesday February 28, 2007
- Weekly status update and team check in
- Sections for American Rivers review
  • Home page
  • Header/Footer
Monday March 5, 2007
- American Rivers feedback
  • Home Page
  • Header/Footer
Wednesday March 7, 2007
- Weekly status update and team check in
- Sections for American Rivers review
  • About Us
  • Subscribe
  • Newsroom
  • Contact Us
  • Privacy
Monday March 12, 2007
- American Rivers feedback
  • About Us
  • Subscribe
  • Newsroom
  • Contact Us
  • Privacy
Wednesday March 14, 2007
- Weekly status update and team check in
- Sections for American Rivers review
  • Take Action
  • Join Us
  • Your Region
  • Campaigns + America’s Most Endangered Rivers
Monday March 19, 2007
- American Rivers feedback
  • Take Action
  • Join Us
  • Your Region
  • Campaigns + America’s Most Endangered Rivers
Wednesday March 21, 2007
- Weekly status update and team check in
- Sections for American Rivers review
  • Community Tools
  • Fun Stuff
  • Shop
Monday March 26, 2007
- American Rivers feedback
  • Community Tools
  • Fun Stuff
  • Shop
Monday April 2, 2007
- Site content finalized for testing
- Overall revisions completed

Friday April 6, 2007
- Website launch

Friday, February 16, 2007

National site first level navigation finalized

During the last round of wireframes for our national site, we also approved the sitemap. So we thought. However, once we got a better look at our decisions in color, we made a slight tweak to the main navigation. The change was basically switching out the Successes section with the wider net, About Us.

We didn't have much in store for the Successes section for the main navigation and as we discussed internally, the content would probably fit just fine in the About Us section. Additionally, Innovative Solutions (second level navigation - see earlier sitemap) is one of those areas that's hard to define and (hopefully) implied within our Campaigns and Community Tools pages. And, on top of it, it's completely new content...which we haven't planned for and unsure where it will come from.

Our finalized first level navigation is as follows:

Header/top navigation
Contact Us

Main Navigation
About Us
Community Tools
Take Action
Join Us
Your Region

Contact Us
Fun Stuff

The second level is next. The current plan is to go through our current site, match up the existing second level with the proposed second level navigation above, and basically see what comes out of the wash. The important thing from here is not to go backwards, but no promises.

After finalizing the second level navigation, and hopefully third level too, I think I can begin wrapping my head around the text. I already have a good idea what's new, old, and needs to be updated, but it will be time to put the rubber to the road and start sending sections to our second half partners.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Full steam ahead: new AHR front page developments

I've been suffering from project fatigue. Added time, combined with many different front page designs, has created project fatigue. It's a feeling rooted in the weeds of a project that bounces back and forth from clarity and confusion. And over time the line between the two simply dissolved.

The last round was safe, probably a little too safe, but most importantly it didn't beckon action as we had hoped. We needed direction with this project, fast. The last seven mock-up (yes, count them!) has run the gamut and we've payed the price. I got the feeling that it was mutual and our partners wanted to meet to discuss strategy.

What's the one thing we want river groups to do? So I was asked. My response, join the campaign and get mapped. That's what we want; we want river groups to be a part of the fight to combat sewage in our rivers. The result is the NEW mock-up of the front page below.

Basically, we needed to get back to the basics and define what we wanted. This is incredibly important for moving on. Fortunately, in response to previous discussions, our partners jumped in and laid out the three main goals for moving forward -

  1. The site needs to accurately state the issue. (since this site's audience is river groups we can be technical)
  2. The site needs to be a source of regular information on the issue and the progress of the legislation. (thus the blog)
  3. The site needs to capture River Groups that are supporting this initiative.
"Design goals should be focused on keeping it clean, non-text heavy, and unique." I was told. And completely agree. Though we have a couple of tweaks (wouldn't be the same without, right?), I think we can finally move forward with direction. Thanks fellas.

AHR front page mock-up: still safe

We took the feedback from our last discussion and turned it over to our partners who came back with exactly what we asked for - see below. There were slight tweaks, but overall it looked pretty good - though possibly a little dark (our suggestion). However, it does have the basic elements we're shooting for: simple navigation, pleasing to the eye, and a collaborative feel.

Most recent

All of this is good, and it looks great, but in the end it still has SAFE all over it. Though the second site, 'Joe Public', will be subversive and fun for a larger audience, we hope the river group site is a little more inspiring. The Slog (Sewage + Blog) will be cool, but is that enough for folks to join the campaign? It might bring them back (and hopefully so), but I'm not sure if it's the reason why river groups would join the campaign.

We've gone through three drafts of the front page mock-up (not including the two extra ones that were first built) and there has to be a point when we pull the plug and move forward in the name of time, associated costs, and sanity.

Our partners were given a pretty tall order (and have responded above and beyond), and it's been since October since we began conceptualizing what Act for Healthy Rivers will look like, but there comes a time when we need to move forward for the sake of moving forward. We want to continually advance the ball; however, with every step forward over the last two rounds, we seem to get a little crossed up and end up taking two back. We need clarification for our partners.

One last crack at it and all systems will have to be a go.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

The SEO dance

A buddy of mine just launched Gale Force Sailing and when I first checked his page rankings, he didn't even make the first couple of pages (but his wikipedia entry did).

Then he got an email from a keen supporter and Search Engine Optimization/Marketing guy who did a few quick maneuvers on a sailing directory and he jumped to the top of Google. See the communication thread here.

That was pretty fast and there were immediate results. But it's not always that easy...or is it? I just chatted with the Social Media Group and they'd make you think it was pretty simple. And it may be. For us, the first step is to actually utilize our Google grants (I'm to blame here). Though our page ranking is decent and our backlinks is not bad (820), we could do a lot more.

Hopefully the Social Media Group can assist us, but until I can create a little more time prior to the launch of our national site as well as afterwards, I don't see us taking a significant step forward to increase our relatively low search engine driven traffic of 15%.

I was talking to a friend the other day about this stuff and as a joke (right?) he sent this interesting post. The video was amusing too, couldn't resist. See below:

Picking battles in name of moving forward

Mock-ups are definitely a different animal.

I've known that, but even though I was reminded with a comment when the wireframes were first proposed, I'm little surprised of the things I missed. Makes me wonder if there are other low hanging fruits that were glossed over. Hmm.

But the long-short of it is that we like the look of mock-up 1 (left image) over the second option. However, my concern is the amount of real estate that the lead image takes up. On small screens it's more than half the page, creating a huge below-the-fold effect.

Though the image will be active (i.e. clickable), it's still there for show. And I'm beginning to think that's okay. Honestly, I wasn't too fond of an image stealing the attention - because we're planning on some great internal pages - but I've gotten a lot of positive feedback from folks with the huge image at the top of the page.

I know-I know, I have to remove my own hang-ups for moving forward. Believe it or not, this is not about what I like...shocking isn't it. I usually get pretty close to these types of projects, but every now and then I have to remind myself to back off, keep my opinions to myself, and stick to what we've tested, others have attempted, and what the experts say. This will go a long way.

I had a bit of a snap yesterday afternoon and got a little defensive over some small detail and that's when it hit me, take a breather. It was a good reality check for me. And a good way to keep my sanity. As with any website design, you're never going to make everyone happy. So, choose your battles wisely.

Very cool web 2.0 wiki for non-profits

I haven't participated in the *conversation* as much as I would like, but I think Best Practices in Using Web 2.0 in Nonprofits is a great example of walking the talk.

Over the last few months, I've been looking into different wiki platforms to test functionality for when we launch our wiki glossary of river terms on the redesigned national site - see the front page mock-up, left navigation.

I've looked in to (and tested some) wikispaces, Socialtext, Mediawiki, and PBwiki. I'm sure all have their perks, but I'm still a bit unsure what would be the best fit for us. I'm probably leaning toward Mediawiki (hard to go wrong when backed by the wikipedia foundation as a friend pointed out), but the real question for us is what will work the best within Convio's Content Management System (CMS).

I'm chatting with folks from Convio on Wednesday to talk about this as well as introduce our second half partners (firm who'll attach code to the designs) with the national site redesign, The Element Agency. I'd really like the river glossary page to look like all of our other pages, regardless if it is hosted elsewhere. The blog will have to be hosted outside of Convio - couldn't get around that - but I'd prefer to keep it simple with just the blog living outside.

I've found some great examples to model our effort after, Techsoup, Reuters, and MobileActive. I'm really excited about the wiki, very cool stuff.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Review of national site front page mock-up

Late Friday afternoon, we got the first design mock-up of our national site. After a month of reviewing wireframes - and since June planning for the website redesign - it's great to start seeing actual designs.

The wireframes are a different animal than the mock-ups. And though we labored over the navigation, text, and feel of the site to be, the front page mock-up gives me a completely different perspective. To a certain extent, it's like the lights have been turned on - I'm seeing stuff that I can't believe I missed earlier.

Over the weekend, I've looked at it, taken a break, looked again, and shared it with a few outside folks. Basically, this will be an expedited process as we're shooting for a transfer of the creative assets by Friday - yes Friday - so that build can begin the following Monday.

This Tuesday is our 'design review' meeting with our partners, my thoughts are below.

The folks that have seen the mock-ups prefer the one below, but I think there are some great points about this design. First of all, there is better use of the space at the top. I also like how your eyes are drawn to the photos in the center as they pop from the page.

However, the downside is that the navigation on the left and the bling to the right really sinks to the back of the page. I find it hard to do an initial page scan as the transition from the center feels like I'm falling off the page.

First of all, the colors are great. I'm usually not a fan of bold colors, but they seem to work for me. Also, the photo rocked, but the biggest concern I have with this mock-up is the amount of real estate the top navigation, main navigation, and lead image take up. On smaller monitors, I bet roughly half the screen space is consumed by these elements - too valuable to loose in my opinion.

After seeing some color, there are three changes that I plan to make for the next round:

  1. Delete 'Riverlog' section. Forget about the four most recent posts from the 'Riverlog' above the news section. I'm more inclined to put it in the left navigation and make it a static link below 'America's Most Endangered Rivers'. I'm also leaning toward the name 'River Blog' - more direct.
  2. Add 'River News' section. I like the idea of us being the source of river news - not just the press clips we're in - but stories that highlight the issues and the work many others are doing to further the cause. I like what Echoditto does with
  3. Delete the 'Your Region' drop down menu. I missed this on the wireframe, but there are too many drop downs on the home page. It was confusing to me when I saw it color. Instead, I think a static map that links folks to the 'Your Region' section is probably preferred.
My questions: What works for you? Where do your eyes go? What do you feel you're being asked to do? What questions should we be asking ourselves? Potential problems?

Saturday, February 10, 2007

First front page mock-up for national site

This is it, the first look at colors, navigation, and general feel of our national site. Big difference from the wireframes, understandably so, but cool to finally see something.

They are two completely different approaches and I have a reaction to both, but I'll save it for early next week as I try to let the look and feel sink in a little bit. But not too long as we're chatting with the design team on Tuesday to go over the front page. After that, we want to wrap all of the creative up in 5-7 days. Ambitious, I know.

Between now and then, we basically have three cracks at it before all creative assets are scheduled to be handed over to partners #2 who will attach code to the images and build out the one, possibly two, pages living outside of Convio - the wiki and blog.

Things are coming together, but it will be tight. Very tight. And, btw, the below mock-ups are missing logo (upper left) and tag line as that's still in the works. It's really going to be a new us. My goal for moving forward is just to make sure all of the moving parts come together during the first week of April.

The first two looks are above, and my reaction will follow (I'm trying to take a look, take a break, then come back to it - a couple of times), but any immediate reaction from you? What works, doesn't work, etc?

Friday, February 09, 2007

3rd go at AHR's front page design, not the last

This week has been all about Act for Healthy Rivers. It's a good thing since I've been in a bit if a holding pattern with the national redesign. Our partners tasked with the design side of things have been busy at work with the homepage mock-up following the series of wireframe developments.

The added time this week has allowed us to focus our attention on Act for Healthy Rivers' design elements. Below: the current mock-up is the most recent effort to date and significantly different than the last. And though both designs are in the family, the two below are products of an earlier round. And I suspect the next to be different too - it's anyone's game now.

Current mock-up

Previous mock-up

After running this by members of our executive team and an impromptu focus group, the loudest feedback was that the current mock-up didn't pop. In fact, our partners pretty much summed it up best with the latest effort -
It seems like we are taking a safer approach here when we could be pushing the envelope and focusing on a real campaign brand. As we have said the site can easily be redesigned. But does your constituency really want to see another pretty river header and another river group site, or do they want to see a more edgy site that emphasizes the problems that have necessitated this new legislation?
We're not really going for an edgy look with the 'river group' site, but we do want the appearance to be engaging, clear, and okay, a little on the edge. This process has gone around the horn and I'm confused with what we want to achieve again. Our team may need a regroup and clear things up before we proceed.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

AHR's front page takes on another look

We're in a good place. Though a different approach to the last mock-up (and original designs), we're moving in the right direction.

There are a lot of great aspects to this design and one that our partners put a rush on so that we can put it in front of our executive team, internal focus group, and eventually the campaign's steering committee before we move forward with the build out.

The call out to the river groups is key for us in the Join Us section to the right of the header image as they are our primary audience. And the bling underneath is pretty cool too - we like the collaborative emphasis.

The Join Us section is the homepage ask; we want groups to click on this section and get in the act. The basic premise behind the site is that if you're a river group working on river-related issues, we'd like for this site to be the platform for information (as well as content to share with your constituency) and action behind 'Right-to-Know' legislation.

Though the text in various sections is a little unbalanced, the basic layout is heading in the right direction. In the short time we've had our hands on this design this afternoon, the feedback that rose to the top of conversation was that it was a little bland - nothing popped at the first impression.

We're planning on taking one more look tomorrow and get back to our partners by the afternoon, but I wonder how much 'pop' there should be when we're going for substance, greater content over flash - that kind of thing. We'll have to find the middle road in order to move forward, but in the mean time take a look at the slog post on the bill icon - fun stuff that made me laugh when I first saw it.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

AHR gut check for front page design

The clarity from last meeting was quickly forgotten as we grappled with design elements, messaging, and structure. We didn't necessarily take a step backwards, but we did slosh about in the weeds. The deeper we went, the more we needed to revisit our goals.

And that's what we attempted to do, back off for a few minutes and get a fresh look at the front page, direction of site/campaign.

After a little more consideration, the initial sizzle we felt with the rain theme backdrop and header image started to wane. Rain is not the sole contributor to sewage in our rivers and offering that as the lead in to the site was potentially distracting to the overall effort of the site to engage and activate river groups around 'Right to Know' legislation. So our thinking went.

A little more detail about our likes/dislikes of existing front page mock-up:

Images: We're shooting for the lead image to reflect the positive side of rivers and communities, e.g. recreation, water source, healthy ecosystems. The second, smaller image underneath, we’re going for an ugly sewer shot that contrasts the lead image. The tag line: When the rivers flow with sewage.

Backdrop: We’ve given this a lot of thought following the suggestion regarding the use of a river image at top. With the current backdrop, a river image is out of place. And since the rain is not the sole contributor to sewage, we’re planning on deleting the rain backdrop.

Navigation: We like it at the top as well as the idea of a highlighted section to the right (currently, River Group Supporters). This is an attention getter and one we can utilize as a call out to join. Specifically, we're thinking of bringing the box to the top and doing away with the map and state drop down.

Bottom half of front page: The two posts on the homepage will also be the two most recent posts. On the right, another section/box about ‘The Legislation’ will be pretty key for us to keep our eyes on the prize.

I suspect our next design to look drastically different, but we'll be one step closer.

Friday, February 02, 2007

AHR navigation scheme determined

With one redesign complete, the next couple of months will be pretty intense with the launching of Act for Healthy Rivers (next few weeks, cross your fingers) and the launching of the redesigned, rebranded, and reworded national site in April. This past week has definitely felt like the calm before the storm. The two remaining sites couldn't be more different in design, scope, and audience.

AHR is being built by a small firm in washington, DC, who develops sites using the open source platform, Drupal. The look and feel of our national site is being designed by a New York firm who will turn over the creative assets to the second New York firm who will then attach the code to the pretty pictures and make sure everything works within our closed content management system provider, Convio.

Yes, the moving parts make me nervous. Yes, the closed system has me on the edge (unforeseen extra costs). And yes, the amount of cooks in the kitchen does make me a little jumpy. (I think that is one reason I feel the need to document every move)

However, over the next couple of weeks, it will be all AHR. More than a week ago we received the mock-ups. Early this week we responded with our desired design features. Then, after undergoing an internal review of our content needs and creative assets, we plotted the navigation.

Slog | Policy Watch | Act Now | River Groups | Contact

A preliminary site map is outline below:


* Overall, like the structure of HRC’s news page

Policy Watch

Index page – home
Learn about sewage
Learn about the legislation

Act Now

Index page – home
Five things you can do now
Join Act for Healthy Rivers (reg page for groups, similar to NRCW)
Slog your story (contact page)
Spread the word (tell-a-friend function, transparent)
Link to the campaign (similar to kick the oil habit)
Subscribe (slog updates/RSS feed (blog and comments)

River Groups

Index page – home
Dynamic Google map that displays the groups who’ve ‘Acted’ (similar to NRCW)
Strong call to register river groups


Index page – home
Primary contact for campaign and ‘slog your story’ landing page, AR plug too
About us
History of Campaign
Steering Committee
Join Act for Healthy Rivers

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Blogging: What do you call it?

The term blogging elicits fear, excitement, and confusion. Possibly all at once too. Living in DC, I've become a little sensitive to the many-meaning-one-worded, words. Think 'republican' and 'democrat'. Need I say anymore?

Taking it one step further, I do think there is comfort in labeling (or tagging) things, people, and experiences as we see them. In fact, The Pew Internet & American Life Project's recent study concluded that 28% of internet users have tagged or categorized content online.

I might be out on a limb here, but I suspect every day, every person we meet, and every experience we share, we assign a label. As creatures of habit, we are constantly looking for meaning of everything we do and labeling helps us accomplish this task. Hence the loaded words.

And that's why I feel I shouldn't be the one who labels our blogging experience, blogging. I'm sure we'll use the term eventually, but as we turn the corner with greater voices coming through the redesigned site, I'm hoping that we develop our own meaning instead of starting out with what I think it means. Know what I mean?

Here are a couple of open-ended alternatives to throw out in the place of blogging:

  • Two-way communication channel through personal narratives.
  • Civic engagement tool.
  • Storytelling page.
  • User-generated material where entries are made in journal style and displayed in a reverse chronological order. (thanks wikipedia)
  • A publication of personal thoughts and web links.
Any other ideas what we could call blogging?