Nablopomo here I go

So this is it – my first post of the November NaBloPoMo.

I had intended to do NaNoWriMo again this year but the book I’m over half done from September is still hanging around occupying my head and I’ve ended up with all these things to distract me, real world things, so that here it is Nov 1 and I haven’t got a plan! And this year I wanted to go from being a Pantser to being a Planner … oh well.

I once thought: Whatever would I blog about? Like my life is worth blogging about …

Funny how time changes things … I’m involved with my community in ways I’d never had imagined before moving here. I think small towns do that to me. My late wife told me I’m a different person in a small town – she was right.

I grew up in, what was then, Canada’s 4th largest city: Winnipeg. It had just over 500,000 people living it back then and even though we had a neighbourhood you could always go somewhere that no one knew who you were. You could be anonymous. I thought that was a desirable trait back then and somewhere inside some ancient part of me might still feel that way … but … you can’t maintain anonymity in a town with 5,000 people.

When we moved into this small town both of us knew exactly one person. And we had no jobs. So we had to find jobs and meet people or this would have been a strange move: Vancouver to Grand Forks. To help make that happen I responded to a little plea for help on the local Community TV Cable Channel 10. Which turned into a regular gig shooting local events and producing them for local community TV. It got me out there and noticed and I got to meet lots of people in various community groups.

While that did not result in a job per se it did push me in the direction of being ‘that guy with the camera that shoots all those events’. So people would ask me to come and cover their events. It didn’t pay anything up front but it got me networking.

In 2008 I was on the Chamber of Commerce board and had reason to take a hard look at their Calendar of Community Events. It was woefully out of date and not updated often. It turned out to be one more chore on the neck of a part-time employee. If I made it better and got it up to date I was pretty sure it would fall out of date pretty soon so I took a different tack: I made my own website with a free community events calendar. I called it whatsupingrandforks.com but the name was too long so I thought about what could go wrong typing it and claimed 3 more names … most use whatsupgf.com because it’s shorter and easier to type.

It’s been a long frustrating ride with whatsupgf.com. Along the way I learned that your community doesn’t know you are there unless you promote yourself. And even those who know you exist conveniently forget about you at important times unless you have been actively pushing your service into their heads. Even if your service is Free they conveniently forget and pay to advertise in the newspaper because Even this late in the game most people here about see the newspaper as their main connection to the rest of the community. And channel of communication to the community. We have an online news outlet but it has taken quite a while to be in the heads of many and still has yet to dislodge the print publication.

What we don’t have is local radio and TV. A regional radio station does do local things but they are not based here. Shaw cable does their own version of community cable but it’s so different from the model we used to have in this country that it’s more of a corporate nod to the community. I’m not really into volunteering my time to help a multi-billion dollar corporation polish its image.

I had shot many, many local events. I broadcast the city council. In the first 3 1/2 years of whatsupgf.com my friend Gregg and I did a whats coming next week show every week. So I started gftv.ca a while back and told everyone I wanted to be that local TV station. Just on the web.

It’s a cute idea … but I’m not as organized as I should be and with so many things drawing on my time I haven’t been serious about pursuing it.

That changes now.

I’ve got ideas and plans and I’ll let you in on them in future posts …

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