Town square comes to the Web

  • Mark Briggs / All Things Media
  • Sunday, January 20, 2002 9:00pm
  • Local News

A community should have one place to find out what’s going on, to learn about local groups and clubs, and interact with one another.

In past generations, there were town squares and other local gathering places.

But today, we rely on technology to simplify our lives and alleviate the need to spend hours hanging out in some downtown area. Life just moves too fast for that now.

So The Herald is introducing County Connection, a town square for the 21st century, the online gathering place for Snohomish and Island counties.

Visitors come to County Connection to see what’s going on around here, and to discuss topics of interest.

The Community Calendar promotes meetings and events of those groups who have signed up with County Connection, and also draws from the extensive listings found in The Herald’s events calendar.

The Forums, meanwhile, have more than 4,000 registered members and feature lively discussion on everything from local politics to movies to food.

When The Herald partnered with SnoNet, a community nonprofit organization, to build this community communication tool, the primary goal was to make it simple enough for anyone to use.

If you can find the Web site on your computer, you have the skills to build your own Web page.

And, since it’s a community resource, it’s free for all local groups and nonprofit organizations. (Boeing Employees Credit Union has underwritten the cost and serves as the site’s sponsor.)

Local businesses with commercial concerns can also join County Connection for a small monthly fee.

Participating groups can quickly and easily build a mini Web site, complete with photos and graphics, a guest book, establish an e-mailing list and more.

Groups that already have their own Web site can sign up with County Connection to become part of a community where people interested in our region can find out more about their group.

They build a mini Web page on County Connection, then link directly to their official Web site.

The technology that drives County Connection, developed by Doug Parry at The Herald, is complex. Using the Web site, however, is elementary.

The site was launched in November and continues to grow every day. In less than two months, more than 160,000 pages have been viewed on the County Connection Web page. Nearly three dozen groups have registered, and two dozen of those maintain active Web sites.

If you belong to a neighborhood or special interest group, say a bicycle club or Little League sports team, County Connection is the easiest place to communicate with your fellow members.

Post information on upcoming meetings or the minutes from past ones, and enter your events into the Community Calendar — especially those you would like to promote to the public.

Technology is supposed to improve life and make it easier. County Connection is proof that can happen, connecting our communities through one simple Web site.

You can call New Media Editor Mark Briggs at 425-339-3433 or send e-mail to briggs@heraldnet.com.

To get to County Connection, go to www.countyconnection.net

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