[cue the music, Buffalo Springfield 1966]
“There’s something happening here…what it is ain’t exactly clear.”
[scroll pictures of recent Kent news clips]
“Kent Bicentennial Plan Wins National Award”
“Kent Dam Restoration Sets the Standard in Ohio”
“Kent Home to Hitachi Corporation’s National Medical Showcase Facility”
“Kent Company – RocketCalc – Receives Nation’s First Inter-Galactic Order From Space Station”
“Two New Bio-Technology Companies Look to Open in Kent With Tech Transfer Licenses from Kent State University”
“Right Dimensions Seeking to Transform Kent Downtown”
[lower music, zoom on city manager]
City Manager If you’re visiting this site to see what this blog business is all about, welcome aboard.
I’m not sure if after 11 months I technically still qualify for “new guy” status anymore but that won’t stop me from trying “new” things if I think they have a chance to make Kent better. That’s what this blog is all about.
Blogs aren’t actually all that new anymore. Everyone from CEO’s to city manager’s have jumped on the blogging band wagon. I’ve admired blogs for some time so I thought it was time to get on the Blog train too.
Blogs elevate and connect. They don’t rely on throwing information up over the wall and hoping for a safe landing on the other side, they tear down the wall and allow ideas to be exchanged in conversation. This is a quantum leap for interactive communication and is great news for citizen access and participation in their local government.
[cue man on street interview]
Man on Street But how is this blog actually going to help Kent?
City Manager In my first year on the job it’s become apparent that important issues affecting Kent’s future need to be talked about, debated, and pursued in a more meaningful way than time permits through the newspaper or in Council meetings alone. Quite frankly community building is too hard and too important to leave to chance. Prosperity is not inevitable – but it is achievable – if we’re willing to roll-up our sleeves and get our hands dirty. To me that’s what this blog is all about.
The blog is intended to be equal parts bulletin board, soap box and community journal. I am hoping it becomes our community canvass where we sketch new ideas to create a brave “new” Kent for the next generation of Kent kids who deserve to have as much here to enjoy as we have, and hopefully even more.
[cue woman in car asking question]
Woman So what sort of things will we talk about?
City Manager The best parts about blogs are their spontaneity and originality that comes from the free flow of conversations so I don’t have a grand plan for rolling out the blog.
That being said, I do anticipate postings that provide updates on existing/proposed city projects, postings referencing what other cities are doing on issues relevant to Kent, postings regarding economic development proposals, city finances, and Kent’s unconventionally interesting residents. I want to highlight the “good news” stories in Kent, post Kent happenings, and offer some insight into my own aspirations for the city and my leadership beliefs. My promise to you is to try to make each posting relevant but as interesting and unconventional as I can.
To personalize the blog I temporarily have my mug shot on the top until I can come up with a great way to convey the Kent 360 blog concept which is the real source of inspiration for the site. We need a graphic celebration of Kent and all it’s nuances, niches and degrees. I’m hoping we can create a window to see all of Kent through, and be a place to hear and be heard as Kent finds its own voice — hence the tag line, “many voices, one Kent.”
[fade to high school student with hand raised]
Student Are there rules for blogging?
City Manager Blogging doesn’t have an official rule book but it does operate with an unwritten compact to use the powers of blogging for good, not evil. Obviously, I hope that people will use the blog in a way that is productive rather than destructive.
Critical ideas are welcome but critical attacks and personal defamation need to be handled somewhere else. I want the site to be a place of reflection, good conversation and thoughtful debate rather than a weapon for berating others – so if it turns out that the replies are demeaning or profane we have the capability of pre-screening outside comments before they actually get posted on the site and we will turn that switch on if necessary; but I hope that people will honor the spirit of the site and be respectful towards the other 359 degrees of Kent opinions.
[cue to customer with lap top in Kent juice bar offering free Wi Fi internet access]
Customer Typing W-h-e-n c-a-n w-e g-e-t s-t-a-r-t-e-d ?
City Manager Pull up a chair and let’s see what happens.
[fade out, cue music, Black Eyed Peas, 2004]
“Let’s get it started…Let’s get it started.”
This is where the script ends and we begin improvising.
From this point forward we write our own story.
In my next posting I’d like to follow up with a little more discussion of the future of Wi Fi in Kent. If you’re interested, please come back. If not, thanks for making it this far. In the meantime, I welcome your thoughts on blogging.