Third Annual Meeting
Thank you for coming! I am REALLY glad to be here this evening!
Last year at this time, I stood at this podium and was hopeful for the coming year - but concerned about the challenges ahead. I knew we would be losing our $15,000 yearly grant and would need to become self-supporting in the coming year.
Access Indiana gave us a solid financial start - but I'm happy to say we have proven that WayNet is a solid idea that can stand on it's own accord. While we have not fully met our budgetary goal via memberships - we have been able to maintain a status quo. There is an increase in usage of the Internet by local organizations as more and more people come to recognize the convenience and EXPECT organizations to be online - and easily located.
This past year has been a year of growth · In usage figures · In partnerships · In commitment to using the web
When I go out into the community now, I spend less time explaining what WayNet is and why it exists….and more time explaining how folks can become a part of WayNet.
If there is any doubt in your minds as to the common person's increased usage of the 'Net, let me tell you about my recent experience at the Tom Raper Rally.
I was pleased to be invited to speak with Tom's guests and present two seminars on "Surfing the Internet". I was aware that Tom's guests could travel to uptown Richmond for the JazzFest, travel to the Tom Raper Show Room, attend several other seminars, enjoy music, and shop craft booths. With so much going on, and a beautiful day to boot, I figured I'd be lucky to get 15 to 20 people who wanted to sit inside the Kulman Center and talk about the Internet. I prepared 60 handouts, just in case.
I had……200+ people attend each seminar! This was not your average high-tech crowd. They folks were VERY ENTHUSIASTIC about the 'Net! This is just the tip of the iceberg. If you are thinking about putting you business on the Internet - now's the time to get serious about it.
The more members WayNet has - the more useful the service becomes to our current members. There has been coverage in the industry press recently about the demise of the "local content" sites, such as MSN's Sidewalk. Personally - I say "good riddance" to sites that purport to offer local content without a local connection. WayNet's strength comes from having local involvement, local members, a local base. With your help, we can continue to make WayNet a useful, essential service for community members, visitors, and former residents.
Local means we have formed partnerships with our members when appropriate to provide informative content to our visitors. Examples are:
Another feature we've added this year is the "Talk of the Town" discussion list. Talk of the Town allows for community interaction on subjects of interest to our citizens. It's mostly been used for nostalgia so far - but I see it advancing to more serious subjects slowly. This is one of our most-visited areas. People are interested in what others have to say - they are just shy about posting. Keep trying!
And our newest change….our new "Look". The first version was put together in less than two weeks to have it ready to go for our 1st annual meeting after we incorporated in September of 1997. It has proven very durable and flexible. However, the majorities of our users are return visitors and want to find things quickly. The page was designed to make access to the highly requested pages easily accessible, while making new visitors aware of the depth of the site.
Another change is a more visible Sponsor feature, with your names prominently displayed on the home page - and your logos on the 2nd tier pages. Also the Business Directory and Members Directory are prominently featured.
I hope you find the new version useful and easy to use. Please email me if you have suggestions or comments. They are ALWAYS welcome.
As to the future, my goal is:
YOU CAN HELP!
Thanks to all for your feedback, comments, questions, and encouragement. I look forward to seeing you again next year.