Small Town, Big Technology!


Collaboration might be important, but it isn?t always easy. It certainly isn?t often painless, quick, simple or seamless. More often that not it means reinventing the wheel, dealing with frustration, or doing your co-workers? jobs.

However today?s organizations are turning to the world of web 2.0 to solve these problems. Every type of organization, from small non-profits to large grassroots political campaign groups, finds that the benefit of web 2.0 technology solves an age old problem:

How do you organize information and collaborate on projects without wasting countless hours on meetings ? meetings that always seem to be missing that one key person at the moment, for whatever reason, which causes the need for yet another meeting. Web 2.0 allows these organizations to spend their time getting the job done rather than spending their time in meetings.

For the volunteers in the small town of Mokelumne Hill, collaboration is essential.

Limited time, limited resources, limited money and limited staffing makes collaboration just about the only way to get things done in ?Moke? Hill. Whether the Friends of Moke Hill are raising money, the History Society is raising awareness, or the Volunteer Fire Department is staffing an engine or responding to a call, if the folks in this small town can?t work together, they can?t get the job done.

As life gets busier and the 700+ people of this small community get more scattered and start to lose touch with one another, a collaborative community website helps hold the town together. Many residents use the site for fun activities that keeps the community feeling like a community ? blogging, sharing photos, chatting in forums, etc.

More importantly, however, the site is a resource for group discussions, shared resources, a community calendar, local classified ads and more. All registered users are able to add events and content. The various non profit groups are able to share ideas, schedule events and time schedules. They can meet virtually and collaborate on projects and files, even write books together if they want to do so, all within the interface of the site. Local businesses are able to create pages in the business directory and include information on their hours and the services or products they provide. Any of the site authors can upload images, files and more, as well as embed content from other sites (flikr, etc) into their blogs.

The site also has a public ?face? ? the face the town presents to the rest of the world, to anyone interested in visiting or learning more about Mokelumne Hill. Anonymous visitors don?t see the behind-the-scenes stuff that?s going on, but they are able to get a feel for the town and the people who live there, to gather information on history, weather, local activities and more.

All of the site content is developed via a standard web browser. The interface is simple enough for the beginner, while offering practically unlimited capabilities for more advanced users and those interested in spending a bit more time. Once a user has been granted access to the site and their role is assigned by an administrator, they can begin to add content in whatever area makes the most sense. Some people choose to contribute to public information areas and help build the town?s public image. Others are involved strictly in the collaboration in their particular group, while some people just use the fun features and keep a blog, photo blog or use the forums. Friends are made, events are promoted, and people keep in touch with the click of a button.