West Central Blogger

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Fergus Falls learns a thing or two about social media

Folks from Fergus Falls and the surrounding area learned last night that "Twitter" is not the sound a bird makes, and "mashup" isn't what you do to your potatoes--at least not on the Web.

Participants of the blogging and social media workshops held at West Central Initiative on June 23 broadened both their vocabulary and Web 2.0 knowledge. The workshops were presented by Tim Erickson from E-Democracy.Org.

Erickson encouraged the group to consider how they could use some of the online tools to engage their communities. He shared sites that were doing just that, like Locally Grown Northfield and new york mills mn. He also encouraged participants to look at how they can share their interests, concerns and info with others through blogging. Some examples include Lida Farm, Travels with Children, Bluestem Prairie, oh, and West Central Blogger, of course!

Tim also recommended these fun, short "how-to" online videos:
Blogs in Plain English
RSS in Plain English
Social Media in Plain English
Wikis in Plain English
Online Photo Sharing in Plain English

Finally, here is Tim's list of things to keep in mind when starting/keeping a blog (in a nutshell):
  1. Figure out who your audience is.
  2. Keep it personal.
  3. Read other blogs.
  4. Link to other blogs.
  5. Post regularly.
  6. Just do it.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Pelican Rapids says "Welcome!" in many languages

Tamales, tostadas, eggrolls, sambusa ... and lefse, of course! That's just some of the potluck fare people enjoyed at Pelican Rapids' International Friendship Festival, June 20-21. People lined up for the international smorgasbord, then sauntered across the flag-festooned suspension bridge to listen to music in the park and view several multicultural displays. Along the main street, stores displayed decorated chairs out front, each saying "welcome" in a different language. If you didn't get to Pelican Rapids this past weekend, the town's 125th anniversary and its annual Turkey Days is just around the corner, July 11-12.
Interested in finding out about more festivals around the area? Explore Minnesota's Web site lets you search by region.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

DEED takes the show on the road

The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) hits the road this summer for a series of informal discussions throughout the state. The road crew will present a DEED overview--which includes a legislative sessions wrap-up, a new infrastructure application process and workforce innovations--and training on the "new" JOBZ (Job Opportunity Building Zones).

DEED will be rolling into west central Minnesota on July 10 at the Minnesota State Community & Technical College--Fergus Falls; 1414 College Way; Legacy Hall. Their plan is to present the overview from 9 am - 12 noon and hold the JOBZ training from 1- 4 pm.

Learn more.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

NonProfits: Meet the funders at Funders Forum, July 24

Eleven regional funders are slated to present at the Funders Forum, Thursday, July 24, 8:15 a.m. - 3:15 p.m. at the Fargo Holiday Inn, 3803 13th Ave. S. Funders Forum gives nonprofit organizations the opportunity to learn more about the funders in our area, the initiatives they fund, and to ask questions.

The event will also include two break-out sessions. "What Gets Measured Gets Done!" will outline why measuring outcomes and indicators is so important, how to get around terminology issues, and how to use findings to help your program. "SOPPADA: The Secret Formula to Grantwriting," will demonstrate how a good grant proposal must not only meet the requirements of the funder, it must be "sold" to reviewers and the project must be sustainable after funding ends.

There is no cost to attend, however please pre-register by e-mailing your name and contact information to: registration@areafoundation.org Please indicate "Funders Forum 2008" in the subject line. Bring a business card for easy check in! Questions? Call 701-234-0756 ext 28

Want to learn more? Download the brochure!

Friday, June 6, 2008

GIS takes to the air

The June meeting of the Pine to Prairie User Group included a demonstration of the Otter Tail County GIS Department’s Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV). It's used to take aerial photography for various county and city projects in Otter Tail County. The county also has the capability of using it for search & rescue missions.

Here's a video of the demonstration.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Free blogging and social media workshops in Fergus Falls on June 23

Do you live around the Fergus Falls area and have been itching to learn how to blog and/or discover the many ways to engage your community using online tools? Then sign up for these two free workshops, Monday, June 23 at West Central Initiative, 1000 Western Ave., Fergus Falls. "Blogging in Your Community" will be held 3-5 p.m., followed by "Online Community Engagement and Social Media" from 5:30-7 p.m. A light supper will be served between workshops.

Blogs are a powerful online tool for individuals or organizations to share information and connect with others in their community. In the "Blogging in Your Community" workshop you’ll see examples of some of the best community blogging or citizen journalism projects in the country. The workshop will also walk you through the process of setting up a blog for yourself or your organization. You’ll learn about good content for your blog and how to promote your blog to others with shared interests. Wireless access is available, so feel free to bring your laptop.

"Online Community Engagement and Social Media" will be held 5:30-7 p.m. Online tools offer many new opportunities for individuals to connect with their neighbors to address important local issues, tell their shared story to a larger audience, or share important information with each other. This 90-minute workshop will include an online tour of some of the most interesting and innovative community media projects across Minnesota and provide innovative examples of how individuals are engaging with their communities online. The workshop will look closely at online local issues forums, community blogs and various examples of community journalism. It concludes with a discussion about how some of these tools might be used in your own community.

Both workshops are free, but registration is required. Please register by June 20 by calling 218-739-2239 or by sending an e-mail to sheri@wcif.org.
The two workshops are presented by E-Democracy.Org as part of its Rural Voices project funded by the Blandin Foundation. E-Democracy.Org is a non-profit, non-partisan organization that has been building and hosting online community forums since 1994, with ongoing projects in the US, UK and New Zealand.