Friday, March 1, 2013

What We'll Give You Next: Web Site and Store

"What we'll give you next" was the heading of an e-mail from Jim Babka, whose web site, www.downsizedc.org, is renovating (itself...that classical English passive/reflexive form we rarely use these days). What about this web site? I have today and six more days to be online full time, and the General Assembly's over. We planned the extra time in case the General Assembly ran overtime, as it did last year; on behalf of the legislators and their families, we're glad to report that it finished on schedule. What will we give you next?

You tell me, Gentle Readers. Although there seems to be little overlap between the group "readers" and the group "funders" for this web site and its companion real-world projects, your input is still crucial for everything we're doing.

One thing I'll be doing with my remaining online time is reporting on legislation that's passed, so that readers in Virginia can comply with it, and/or demand revisions of it, and/or thank your legislators if you especially like it...

This web site recommends care if you loathe a piece of new legislation. If you just call, write, or e-mail your legislator to vent, what usually happens is that some powerless office worker, likely a student who works five or ten hours a week for college credit, makes a tally mark somewhere and may leave a message for your legislator to the effect that X number of people are mad at him or her today. If you send flames and howlers to web sites like this one, well...this web site will help bash ideas that we think deserve it, but your legislator probably doesn't give a hoot what this web site thinks. What we recommend, if you want an answer from your legislator, is a polite, parliamentary e-mail reminding the person that you are one of his or her constituents, and either (a) you have some questions about how this or that affects you or (b) this or that affects you in a harmful way.

Anyway, another thing I'll be doing here, behind the scenes, is putting together our 2012 Yearbook for those who can't read a web site. This is not a regular book published for profit. It will be hand-bound and hand-printed, consuming a substantial amount of time and money, and will be available to those who've sponsored this web site with gifts of $150 or more (over the year 2012, or retroactively now if they specify that they want a 20112 Yearbook), irrespective of whether or not they sponsored an advertorial. (We've received some contributions from retirees who have nothing to advertise but Christianity.) We appreciate smaller contributions but we can't see a way to make Yearbooks cost-effective for anything below $150.

Although we don't recommend doing Facebook as individuals, the popularity of Facebook has prompted us to consider doing a Facebook page for Cornerstone Communications as an organization. We will be exploring this possibility during the next two weeks. The account will be set up in the name of a lurking supporter who isn't doing anything else online, and will be entirely about the organization, showing no personal information--if we can't do it without exposing the individual's name, we won't do it at all.

Meanwhile, I've been able to download some of my own writing, previously published and otherwise, to post here, and will be posting contributions as youall care to donate them. More book reviews and recipes should be available soon. In March I've saved most of my online time for helping a writer with a book project. Fortunately this is the kind of project the laptop computer can handle, since the Nickelsville computer center will be closed for a vacation during the middle two weeks of March and the Duffield computer center will still be hosting college extension classes.

And, as soon as possible, we want to open the physical store...I have enough to say about that for a separate post.