Community calendar fragmentation

In any given week it seems there are many different kinds of events happening in Richmond and Wayne County. Sports games, lectures, art shows, educational events, government meetings, not-for-profit community meetings, outdoor adventures, book clubs, theatrical performances, events for kids and families, neighborhood meetings, block parties, live music, festivals, fairs, fundraisers, bingo, club events, sales and specials at local businesses, worship services, and much more.

There is a lot going on here, and that’s something to celebrate!

The challenge is that someone casually looking for “something to do” might have to search several different places before finding an option that appeals to them, and to get complete information about all of the events going on. If they don’t look in the right place, they might miss out. Doing a thorough search of all the local calendars could take hours, and each one has strengths and gaps in the info they provide.

For example, the Pal-Item events calendar has a lot in it and is the main source of info if you search online for “richmond indiana events,” but because they highlight regional items at the same level as local items, the “Popular Events” listings all take place outside of Wayne County. The WayNet calendar tends to be frequently updated, but only allows non-commercial events to be posted. The City of Richmond’s “things to do” calendar mainly features city government meetings. On some of these sites it can be very difficult to share the event details with friends and family, even just to generate an email with a link, let alone to re-share it on social media with all the needed details. And as you search through calendars hosted by our various not-for-profits, colleges/universities and other entities in Richmond and the surrounding cities, the trend continues.

Continue reading Community calendar fragmentation

A push to publish

If you’re involved in community improvement efforts in Richmond, it probably means you go to lots of meetings.

Planning meetings, board meetings, government meetings, brainstorming meetings, project update meetings, budget meetings…yes, of course. And then there are the annual dinners, kickoff events, awards ceremonies, networking meals, celebrations and many other kinds of gatherings; it seems some weeks don’t go by without four or five of these happening.

There are several hundred not-for-profit organizations operating in Richmond alone, not to mention all of our government agencies, community-minded business groups and others. Most of them have meetings like these somewhere along the way.

These meetings aren’t the only places that good ideas about the future of our city are shared, but they’re some of the main ones. Unfortunately, most of the time, those good ideas stay locked away in the minds or personal notes of the people who attended, unavailable to the rest of the people of Richmond.

I think we need to change that.

Continue reading A push to publish

Where do you get your news?

Where do people living in Richmond get their news and information about the community?

What sources do they use to understand what’s happening here, and form ideas and opinions about those happenings? Who do they trust to tell them what’s true and real, and what’s just rumor, gossip or marketing?

I think these questions are interesting because they get to the heart of how the people of Richmond make decisions about our future. Whether it’s deciding which candidates to elect, what community improvement projects to support, what public spaces are desirable to be in, which businesses to patronize or what injustices need addressing, we all make decisions that affect what’s possible here. These decisions are based on the information we have, the news we follow, the opinions we form over time.

It’s tempting to think that many people in Richmond don’t get news from anywhere. With low turnout in elections and other forms of civic engagement, high unemployment, below average levels of adult literacy and education, we can convince ourselves that people here just don’t read, don’t get informed, don’t care. But I think we all get news and information from somewhere. Human curiosity is a powerful thing, and most everyone wants to know something about their environs and what’s happening in the world around them.

Here’s my understanding of how we’re satisfying that curiosity in Richmond.

Continue reading Where do you get your news?