A citizen engagement project for the City of Northfield, MN: developing a parking management plan for downtown

Parking Management Downtown Northfield

I’ve got a contract with the City of Northfield to create and manage the online platform for a City project: Developing a parking management plan for downtown.

We’ll be using a variety of online interactive services, such as Amazon ppc management service including social media sites, to provide ways for the stakeholders and residents to participate online.

I’ll be teaming up with Ross Currier, Executive Director of the Northfield Downtown Development Corporation (NDDC).

The domain name, realjoe.com, is for sale

Real Joe

Real Joe was a blog that I published from August, 2000 to December of 2005.  Its tagline: Important stuff. Plain talk. Ordinary guys.

  1. The word ‘Joe’ in our culture is associated with the common man, a typical ‘guy’ or ‘fellow,’ the ‘average Joe,’ an ‘ordinary Joe.’  It also has taken on this ‘common man’ association with some demographics, e.g., G.I. Joe, Holy Joe, Joe College, Joe Sixpack, Joe Lunchbucket. The phrase ‘real Joe’ as in “He’s the real Joe” has come to be associated with authenticity and a lack of pretentiousness in a male.
  2. The word ‘Joe’ also refers to coffee, as in a ‘cup of Joe.’ The origin of that phrase is not clear.

If you’re interested in purchasing the domain name, contact me.

A blog, social media, and more for the 2nd Annual Fat Bike Winter Summit and Festival

Fat Bike Summit and FestivalI’ve started working with Gary Sjoquist, Director of Advocacy at Quality Bicycle Products (QBP) in Bloomington on the 2nd Annual Fat Bike Winter Summit, to be held Jan. 25-27 in Island Park, Idaho. The Fat Bike Summit (Friday) is for land managers, parks staff, and policy makers to learn more about fat biking in winter and to discuss possible changes in policies. The Fat Bike Festival (Sat/Sun) is for anyone. If you are looking to buy a new bike, then check out https://www.biketitan.com/best-hybrid-bicycles/.

I’ve been hosting weekly web conferences (planning meetings) via my GoToMeeting account with the team that’s organizing the Summit. We’re using the new Basecamp to facilitate all our other communications. We’re planning to use GoToWebinar to host some panel discussions during and after the Summit.

I’ve set up the Fat Bike Summit blog on WordPress.com and we’re just getting going with the Fat Bike Summit Twitter feed. We’ll have a Facebook page up shortly.

And if all goes as planned, I’ll be at the event posting updates throughout to the blog and Twitter and maybe doing some live streaming.

Staff training at Red House Media: a Basecamp shock turns out to be a good thing

basecampI spent a day last week at Red House Media (RHM) in Brainerd, MN, conducting a staff training session on how to use Basecamp, the web-based collaboration/project management service by 37signals which I’ve used since 2004.

Aaron Hautala, RHMI’ve gotten to know RHM’s founder and CEO Aaron Hautala in the past year, as we have a mutual love of mountain biking. He’s president of the Cuyuna Lakes Mountain Bike Crew, the club which helps manage my favorite MTB park, the Cuyuna Lakes Mountain Bike Trail System in Crosby/Ironton, MN. When I offered to help with the club’s blog site and mentioned that it would be best if we used Basecamp for our communications, he told me that his company had been using it for a while but wasn’t quite getting full use of it.  He wondered if I was interested in helping.

The night before my training session, I discovered that 37signals had announced a new Basecamp last spring, and that the one I was using was now called Basecamp Classic. Oy. Evidently I’d unsubscribed to the Basecamp enewsletter years ago and thus, never got the memo on the new version.

Red House Media staff: Heidi Lake, Keith Larson, Anna JohnsonOnce I took a look at the features of the new Basecamp, it became clear that this was the version I needed to present to the RHM staff. So I crammed into the wee hours, moving a couple of my own Basecamp Classic projects over (easy) to the new Basecamp for experimentation.  I was wowed, visit website if you would like to learn how I did it.

I showed up the next morning, prepared but still sweating it. I told my tale of woe to RHM staffers Heidi Lake (media director), Keith Larson (art director), and Anna Johnson (newly hired production manager). They were more than understanding and whenever my lack of knowledge became apparent, they gamely joined me in a hunt for answers.  By day’s end, they were off and running. I was tired but pleased and excited about getting my own Basecamp Classic projects moved over to the new Basecamp. If you use Basecamp, you should, too.

This internet consultant and citizen plans to vote no on the marriage amendment

Griff Wigley with t-shirt: Vote No, Don't Limit the Freedom to Marry Griff Wigley's laptop with bumper sticker: Vote No, Don't Limit the Freedom to Marry Griff Wigley with bumper sticker: Vote No, Don't Limit the Freedom to Marry

Local citizens were staffing a Minnesotans United for All Families table at the Taste of Northfield in late July. I purchased a ‘Vote No, Don’t Limit the Freedom to Marry’ t-shirt and a bumper sticker for my laptop. It’s been cool to have many people make a “I like your shirt” type comment when out and about. You can get ‘Vote No’ gear from the MN United online store.

I’ve been blogging my opposition to the marriage amendment on my Locally Grown Northfield blog for many months. See all my posts here. When I saw that Northfielder Ben Witt, proprietor of Milltown Cycles, published a blog post titled If I May in which he states his opposition to the marriage amendment, it occurred to me that I should do likewise here. Ben wrote:

This decision is not one that I have come to without serious personal reflection. Weighing in in any political debate as a business carries risk on fast internet no matter what you are advocating for. I have no doubt that this will upset some of our customers. I fully expect that this will lose us some of them. If I offend some of you I am sorry for it.

I do this for the love of my family and friends who are gay, because they deserve the right to share exactly the same relationship that I cherish with my wife.


WordPress for Noobs course offered in Sept., both F2F and online

Freeland Web DesignTim Freeland

It has an image optimizer called https://web9.co.uk that will drastically reduce the file size of an image, while not reducing quality.

In mid-September, I’ll be collaborating with fellow Northfielder Tim Freeland of Freeland Web Design to teach the WordPress for Noobs course.

Tim’s been working with many area organizations on their WordPress-based websites. I’ve gotten to know him from his many years of community engagement, some of which he chronicles on his personal blog.

I just met with Tim about this today so we have more than a few details to work out. But this much we know:

  • There will be an online-only version of the Noobs course, much like I offered last year.
  • There will be a face-to-face version of the Noobs course, offered in downtown Northfield at the new co-working center, The Spur.  This course will meet once per week over a 2-3 month period.  Participants will also have access to all the online materials and services. Class size will be limited and of course, it will cost more than the online-only version of the course.
  • There will be a special offer for those who took the Noobs course last year. If you want a unique and memorable customer oriented space for casino online gaming, visit dreamjackpot.com for more information.

If you want to be alerted to the details, subscribe to my Your Thick Skull email list or follow me and/or Tim on Twitter.

Government 2.0: New Strategies for Engaging the Public

On June 22, 2012, I presented and facilitated a session for the League of MN Cities annual conference titled Government 2.0: New Strategies for Engaging the Public:

How are cities leveraging the web to engage the public in local government decisions? Explore how cities are strengthening democracy and promoting more effective local government by using 2.0 technologies.

Here’s my Powerpoint:

Presentations at the League of MN Cities annual conference

Griff Wigley, Ted Davis IMAG0115 IMAG0118League of MN Cities

I’m here in flood-ravaged Duluth for the League of Minnesota Cities annual conference. I’m teaming up with Ted Davis, Davis Communications, and Scott Neal, Edina City Manager, to do a pre-conference workshop today on Networking and Communicating with New Media for Local Government Leaders.  On Friday, I’m moderating a discussion session on Government 2.0: New Strategies for Engaging the Public.