You are welcome to contact me directly at quickcard at gmail dotcom
This is a proposal for us here in the Neahkahnie area of Oregon, to come up with a FULL-FEATURED, EASY-TO-USE local online network to act as a community bulletin board for the Neahkahnie area. I’ve looked at Neahkahnie.ning.com and BBQ and I don’t believe that they meet criteria discussed here.
Now, WHERE SHOULD WE HAVE THAT FORUM about alternatives? I created “Oregon Coast Network” in Facebook a while back. That could be one place. Or you can add your thoughts to this blog…..OR WHAT do you suggest? NOTE: at this point, I’m addressing WHERE/HOW to have the discussion ABOUT creating such a network.
I live in Nehalem, a very small community on the north Oregon Coast. We are neighbors to two other hamlets, Manzanita and Wheeler, also small. One is 2 miles north of us, the other two miles south, the whole are is called “NeahKahnie”. Our most popular “BBS” is called “BBQ” and is run by a very nice man. Here’s how it works, you send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and, if it meets the admin’s criteria, it will get emailed out to all the folks who have signed up for it. Incidentally, few people use the Oregon Coast Craigslist precisely because it is NOT local enough.
Now the disadvantages of something like BBQ are obvious. At one point I emailed the BBQ admin about the possibility of collaborating on creating something less kludgy. BBQ has asked me not to quote their reply, but the gist of it was, why would I want to have something else when there already was BBQ?
(NOTE: I’m not calling for the abolishment of BBQ, but it since BBQ is the only online community de facto bulletin board, it would be nice if we could at least announce the issue there). This was my response, I have edited it for clarity:
“… BBQ is great, and I’m sure it will be around for many more years. For folks who absolutely hate to learn anything “new,” BBQ will be all they will ever use. BBQ has the strength of having been here first and is of great benefit to the community. (but) BBQ, and services like it are basically a central clearing house for thousands of individual emails…It’s as if every time you had something to say to one (or just a few individuals), it had to be broadcast to 300 people, in the hope that those you were addressing would also see it, while 300 other people are doing the same thing. “
I believe that a lot of local people are left flatfooted. They do not like to use BBQ and yet, we cannot announce a FORUM to discuss ALTERNATIVES in the only CURRENT FORUM: BBQ.
Some of the disadvantages of the BBQ “technology”:
- OVERSTUFFED EMAIL BOX. BBQ is not a listserv, so emails flood users’ email box, unsorted and before you know it, you have thousands of emails in your inbox, instead of their being on an outside SERVER, as in a genuine listserv.
- SECURITY: If someone hacks into a mediated service, like BBQ, a hacker gets ALL the addresses on the list, and the entire membership is therefor vulnerable to hacking and viral attacks, spam etc. Saying that it has not happened yet is like saying you don’t need to use a safety belt because you’ve never had an accident.
- Users are at the mercy of the provider taking a vacation, being ill, or just not feeling like forwarding messages that day, or YOUR message specifically. Social Networks (Facebook, Google groups, Ning, Yahoo groups etc) is AUTOMATICALLY ADMINISTERED, and not dependent on an individual’s health, presence, or mood.
THE ALTERNATIVE, should have NONE of the above disadvantages, and have the following features:
- Hyper-local (but can be connected to other hyper-local nodes. So “our” hyperlocal would encompass from Manzanita area to Wheeler, for example.
- Posting is INSTANT and not sent to an intermediary. This is comparable to the difference between having a phone as a party line and just being able to pick up the phone and call someone.
- Listings can be SORTED during the posting process. You can find what you are looking for FAST and EASY, BECAUSE IT’S INDEXED (“threaded”).
- LISTINGS ARE ON THE SERVER, NOT YOUR COMPUTER, NO NEED TO PURGE, EDIT, SORT CLASSIFY, USE UP MEMORY ETC
At any rate, in terms of there being a local electronic bulletin board, BBQ was here first, and has become the default superlocal networking site. BBQ has “First-mover advantage” (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/First-mover_advantage). “First Advantage” is very powerful. In general, no matter how much better the second (or 3rd, 4th) contender is, people tend to stick with the “first-arrival.” eBay is prime example. Not a great company, I can testify to that, but the first one out of the gate.