In the last few years of the 20th century, the Mayor of Lille in northern France was presented with a dilemma. The old swimming pool in the small town of Roubaix had been closed in 1985 due to safety problems. It could have been knocked down and replaced with a new building, however, the locals were very fond of the pool, and it was a stunning example of Art Deco architecture.
The health and safety issues meant that the building could no longer be used for as a pool. Yet it was a beautiful building. A creative solution was needed.
I was working on an unrelated project earlier this month, when I discovered that my present hometown of Brillion, Wisconsin didn't have a Facebook page. There was no online community for local Facebook users to interact, be social, share photos, discuss recent events, stay updated on local news and culture, that sort of thing. Heck, hardly any of the local businesses have active Facebook communities either. That surprised me. Do Brillionites not use the internet for business or social networking?
It seemed like an area of technology that was being gravely underutilized.
So, me being from the big city, where that sort of thing is commonplace, I decided to toss my hat into the ring, and pursue the opportunity. I may be one of Brillion's newest residents, and not everyone knows me yet... but I do love my new home. I have a passion for it (and a public persona to go with). Putting together an online culture/news source for Brillion made simple sense. Besides, not even the local once-a-week Brillion newspaper uses Facebook (or even maintains the page they already have).
Like I said... surprised.
As anyone in the area of online marketing will tell you, Facebook is the wave of the future. The things a business or brand can do on Facebook grows by the week. And if you want to build a relationship with supporters, grow your customer base, increase visibility... Facebook is the place to do that. It opens up so many doors. Especially with so many people using the site these days!
So, with that in mind, I've decided take the lead, build a relationship with the residents of Brillion, start growing an online community, and, ultimately... promote the city.
If you'd like to become part of this growing community, stop on by. The Facebook page is already online. Come check us out, click "Like", join the fun!
And, if you like the new Brillion page, please, by all means, invite your Brillion friends to join. Anyone who lives in Brillion. Even people who live outside Brillion. Anyone who supports our community and wants to see it grow. Invite them.
Brillion has a great real-life community. Friendly. Helpful. Hospitable. Proud! But we're not online yet. Not as a community. Help us change that. Come join the new Brillion, Wisconsin Facebook page!
To spread the word, sign into Facebook (if you use the site), and then click the "Share" link at the bottom of the left-hand column on the Brillion page. Or, put the link to the Brillion page on your blog, status update, Twitter, wherever you are online. Every little bit helps!
Brillion could greatly benefit from having a public, active Facebook page. Now all we need are the local residents... and supporters. YOU!
I've been sick the past couple of days. Last week, Kelli had the flu. I don't know if that's what I've had (she was a lot worse off than I am), but it's still been enough to knock me out. I've been weak; haven't had a normal appetite or the energy to do much, I've slept far more than usual, I've been nursing an uncertain stomach, and I've spent most of my waking hours watching movies and television shows on Netflix (via our new Wii).
I'm pretty sure I'm on the mend now. I feel stronger, less exhausted. I'm hoping I can get back to business as usual tomorrow.
For those of you that have been wondering where I went... now you know. I like blogging; it's one of my favorite things to do, but in cases like this, my health always comes first. Here's hoping none of you were in the same boat as me.
Tonight I went to the Brillion Electric Parade. It was being held on main street at 9pm as part of this weekend's Brillionfest. All the typical small town parade features were there: people in lawn chairs lining the street for as far as the eye could see; decorated night-time floats with strings of twinking lights; street vendors selling glow-sticks; potential political candidates handing out flyers; candy being tossed to eager children waiting on the curbs; local county fair royalty; floats/vehicles for almost every business in town; about a dozen fire trucks from every nearby community; marching bands; the mayor in a classic convertible; a flat-bed semi carrying the state champion football team; and more. It was a fascinating experience!
And, I say fascinating, because I don't think I've been to a small town parade in over 20 years. And not because I didn't want to.... but because I've lived in the big metropolis for the past 20 years. Parades in the big city are very different from parades in small towns. It's a completely different culture.
Point of fact, for me, as I stood on the curb watching tonight's parade, I was surprised by some of this local small town culture. Here in Brillion, one of the big three factories is the Brillion Iron Works. It's a huge facility; not at all something you'd expect to see operating in a city of only 3,000 people. But nonetheless, Brillion is its home. In the parade, their float was a mere semi. No decorations, no lights, just a typical semi truck/trailer driving in the parade. As I discovered, here, a parade is all about getting your corporate logo seen. And... well... their logo is on the side of all of their semi trucks.
Another thing that I'm not used to seeing is all the farm equipment. In the parade. And we're talking everything from the cool old-fashioned John Deere tractors, to the HUGE modern you-can-drive-a-car-under-me crop harvesters and machinery. In short, two-story tall farm machinery. Sting up some lights on one of those bad boys, and you have yourself a parade float! In tonight's parade, where were at least half a dozen of those monsters.
You definitely don't see that in the big city!
Another thing that intrigued me were the golf carts. There were a few of those in the parade as well. Some of them were lit up with lights, others were just there carrying notable people. Some were just plain simple golf carts with someone standing on the back holding a sign. I can't really give them points for creativity there, but, I suppose you just go with what works.
One of the most fascinating units in the parade -- at least for me -- was a marching band from Milwaukee. Big city Milwaukee. My old hometown. The Milwaukee that resides 100 miles southeast of Brillion. I was pleasantly surprised to see them too; way up here. I don't remember the name of the band, but they seemed about as close to a skilled drum corps/professional marching band as you can get. A nice addition to all the local floats, signs, and musical groups.
Where I come from, a big-city parade is usually creatively decorated floats. Flowers. Ribbons. Wood frame contructs. At least a dozen marching bands, one for each of the many high schools and colleges in the area. Lots of horses. Police on horseback. Rows of military veterans. Rows of reenactors portraying soldiers from past wars. Clowns. Crazy clowns in tiny cars. Fancy classic cars. Military vehicles. Loud music blaring from floats as they pass by. Singers singing from floats. People dressed in costumes lit up by thousands of tiny lights. Dancers. Guys on stilts. People on big bikes. People on little bikes. Professional series race cars. Costumed characters. Street performers. Things like that.
Big cities have more resources and manpower that allow them to create more elaborate parade units. And they're a sight to see, believe me! But one thing I like about these small town parades -- like the one I just watched on main street, is the resourcefulness of the proud farmers, business owners, and local citizens. When you don't have those deep pockets or the master float builders like the big city... you turn what simple things you do have into something worthy of the whole town turning out to watch. And believe me, around here, the whole town turns out for a parade.
It's a different culture here. It's more intimate. Personal. Inviting. Passionate. All things I didn't experience as much in the two-million-people-strong Metro Milwaukee area. But here... it's a way of life. And it's the driving factor behind everything Brillion does. Even parades.
I may be from the big city; I'll always miss the big city. Someday I may go back. But for now, with each small town cultural aspect that I experience here in Brillion... I find this place growing on me more and more. I grew up in a town half the size of Brillion. Then I lived in big cities for 20 years. Now, I guess you could say... I'm back to my roots.
It's a fascinating experience! No question about it.
So... here's to Brillion, and a parade well done. ... [hat tip] ... I've never been much of a parade-goer. But after tonight, I'll admit, I'm already looking forward to next year.
Why are online end user license agreements and terms of service so long and convoluted? So that Academy Award winning actor Richard Dreyfuss can dazzle us with a brilliant dramatic reading of the Apple EULA, that's why! It's technical legal-talk meets Broadway production. And it's quite entertaining! And fun! Give it a listen, and enjoy!
Here's something creative to whet your fascination: It's a collection of 25 unique and stylish mugs from around the net. But they're not like the standard coffee mugs we're all familiar with. These feature different shapes, alternate materials, and color designs not usually associated with drinkware.