BC Hydro does it right – website with a map, mobile site, RSS feeds that you can do anything with (I had it sending me text messages with updates). Lots of detail.
The great thing about having a good web presence is that you can point people to it instead of answering questions over and over again.
I totally get why Citywest and the City don’t use the web: first, I know you meant it as a joke, sandimas, but when I e-mailed the mayor, he didn’t reply by e-mail – he phoned instead.
So perhaps somebody does print out the internet for him. So yeah, they don’t post stuff on the web, because the web is only an afterthought. It’s just not their world. Hence the Mayor lamenting the death of The Daily News – where are we going to get information now? Well, one of the reasons The Daily News went away is that many people are getting their news elsewhere already.
Why doesn’t Citywest use the web more? I’m not sure – there are a lot of smart people working there, especially in the internet department. But perhaps it’s a bit of the same thing with the leadership – Mr. Brown’s famous “we don’t think anybody in town wants it” (texting and data services) quote may be indicative of the world that the Citywest leadership lives in. This is the company that has everybody’s e-mail address, but doesn’t know how to contact its customers with an update?
In my opinion, though, the problem in each organization’s internet presence is that they fear uncontrollable conversation. Buying an ad in the Daily News is the kind of conversation that is easy to control and keep focused. No embarassing questions from Justin Case or MiG to worry about
Citywest does have a twitter account: twitter.com/citywest_tweets – but taking a look at it, there’s no real conversation going on. The last post on there was in August, and it’s just a stream of one-way announcements.
The internet is all about conversation (cf. Cluetrain Manifesto from last century!), and if you’re not interested in having a conversation you can’t control, then why even try?
Meanwhile, yesterday was officially HTMF’s biggest day ever. We had more unique visitors in a 24 hour period than we’ve ever had. At one point yesterday, there were 197 people on HTMF at one time. We finished the day with close to 2000 unique visitors. Not bad for a day when most people in town didn’t have electricity for part of the day.
Even in the middle of the blackout, when nobody in Northwest BC had power, there were people visiting the site on their phones. You know, those phones that Citywest’s leadership didn’t think anybody really wanted (sorry, couldn’t resist!).