to be Interesting Mix of Reference Material and Community Interaction

July 9, 2009

If you’re a Roanoker, you may have heard about the launch of It’s been well publicized on Twitter, Facebook, and now some other media outlets such as Star City Harbinger and WSLS. Beth Doughty, Executive Director of the Roanoke Regional Partnership does a good job summarizing the site in their latest press release:

“Making the outdoors an important part of our region’s narrative starts with a comprehensive Web site that catalogues our natural resources and makes it easier for people all over the world to learn about and enjoy our region’s natural resources.”

My company, Vision Point Systems, is behind the development of this site. We have an interesting task ahead of us balancing the demand for an objective catalog of the region’s offerings with the desire to build a dynamic community of outdoor enthusiasts and casual participants. This is one of those instances where social media can seem like a buzzword. It’s tempting to decorate the page with Twitter feeds, Friendfeed streams, etc. There’s a real risk of getting too hung up on the social aspect and burying the real purpose of the site. There will be some much needed traditional web features such as a hiking trail database, links to local outfitters, events lists, and other guidance and tips. The last thing we want to happen is create a feeling of exclusivity because of a passionate core group of outdoor enthusiasts.

The great part about the process we’re going through is that we’ve launched the site as a completely temporary entity to act as a preview and feedback mechanism. We’ve got a clear deadline set for Sept 30 to get the real thing built and we’re thrilled about the buzz the site is getting so far.

The temporary page

The temporary page

I’d personally welcome feedback on this subject, but the best course of action is to take the survey on the site itself!


2 Responses to “ to be Interesting Mix of Reference Material and Community Interaction”

  1. roanokeoutside Says:

    Thanks Jim – I appreciate everything you, Chris, Allen, Miguel, and the others at Vision Point Systems are doing on this project. It’s exciting and you guys are awesome to work with. -Pete

  2. jimschweitzer Says:

    Thanks for the kind words Pete. This kind of testimonial is why we’re in business. The other point I wanted to mention was that it’s great that RRP is putting a subject matter expert in charge of this whole process and making sure that the core of the site content is generated by someone that knows best. This is a big distinction from a site where the community aggregates their own lists of favorite activities, etc. Thanks to you for your passion and effort so far.

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