iBrattleboro.com has turned 21. That means the site can now drink in most states.
Brattleboro’s experiment in citizen journalism continues, and from my perspective there has been a bit of an uptick in use of the site over the last year. Many seemed distracted by social media for a while, but people are returning and we’re seeing a bit more writing again. It’s heartening. Thanks!
A few reminders of iBrattleboro’s history, for those new to the area.
This is for the weather geeks.
The weather map on the iBrattleboro.com weather page has been updated and you now have access to nearly 40 different animated, real-time overlays, including:
Just a quick housekeeping note. When tagging you stories, you are tagging them for this site and not that other social media site you might be thinking of, whatever that is.
No hashtag is necessary here, just a comma!
As part of account verification, the site asks for evidence of actual awareness of a physical aspect of Brattleboro. It’s a unique way to prove not only that a would-be contributor is not a robot, but there is in fact some identification with the town that is the locus of the site.
[What can you tell us about Brattleboro? (required) ~~ Can you tell us something that only someone with a genuine connection to our area would know?]
The creators of iBrattleboro have announced a new direction for the citizen journalism site. “With 20 years of citizen-generated archived local digital media , we realized that iBrattleboro no longer requires citizens to write about where they live.” The new site will be 100% driven by artificial intelligence ChatGPT code and will generate stories and comments on behalf of former users of the site.
“We just feed the old site content in as prompts, and it generates fresh new content that seems similar to local news and information,” said the owners. “It’s almost like people are having conversations locally with one another again.”
Running a community-based site isn’t easy. Take it from us. We were among the first to try the experiment of letting people speak freely online, right here in Brattleboro twenty years ago. We could teach you a lot and save you a lot of time.
Elon Musk is going to go through a sharp learning curve., as we know from experience and Mike Masnik at TechDirt points out in a great article: “Hey Elon: Let Me Help You Speed Run The Content Moderation Learning Curve”
FYI, we never send out emails telling you that your password is about to expire. Passwords don’t expire on iBrattleboro.com. You can change them, or we can change them for you, but nothing is automated.
If you ever get an email asking you to reset your password, it is spam.
Want a little help with writing and reporting? There is a free class just for you! This announcement was sent out by Richard Watts, Director, Center for Research on Vermont and Co-Director, Reporting & Documentary Storytelling:
If you like the number 2, today is a good day: 02-20-2022. It’s also the 19th birthday of iBrattleboro.com. Can you imagine?
For those new to town, iBrattleboro is citizen journalism. It’s a local, free publishing platform for you to share your news, events, comments, and other Brattleboro things. We have free classifieds and free advertising. Anything you publish gets promoted to over 1600 twitter followers as well.
As Tropical Storm Elsa wends her way up the coast, it seems as good a time as any to point out our new weather feature — an interactive weather map! We’re very happy with the new functionality, having lost access to the National Weather Service maps about a year ago.
Before telling you more about the map and its many features, here’s how to find it: go to the iBrattleboro Weather Page and scroll down past the forecast and weather links where you’ll find it labeled Weather Map and Radar. There she blows, and isn’t she a beauty?
It’s 02-20-2021 and iBrattleboro is 18 today. Watch out now, we’re all grown up and can vote! Still a few more years until we can rent a car, but hey…
More seriously, the site stated 18 years ago as a place for people in the Brattleboro area to share news, events, information and opinions. iBrattleboro can be whatever you, the community contributor, wants it to be. If it is exciting and useful, you made it so.
Wondering how many people are visiting iBrattleboro.com? Let’s look at some recent stats.
May 2020 had 33,760 unique visitors, with 60,030 visits to 458,918 pages. (This does not include traffic generated by robots, worms, or crawlers.)
Unique visitors for Jan were just above 27k, Feb had 32.5k, March had just over 31k, and Apr was 22.5k.
A few housekeeping notes.
A new sign up/log in option is now in the “contribute” menu in the upper blue bar. Much easier to find, and right where you might want it to add a story, event, link, or photo. We’re also keeping the other one, mid-page, between stories and recent comments.
Can you believe it? iBrattleboro’s been going for 17 years. You’ve been people-powering journalism in Brattleboro for almost two decades.
This year, I leave it mostly to you to reflect on your accomplishments. (In addition to your thoughts, feel free to ask questions. We’ll answer anything today.)
I was digging through some old family things and came across a green piece of paper that my grandfather had printed to encourage fellow students to submit news to the college newspaper. It says:
“HAVE YOU NEWS TODAY OF YOUR..
iBrattleboro comes of age today. The site turns sixteen.
Sixteen means we can get a learner’s permit for driving. We can drop out of school. We can consent. We can get an adult passport, donate blood, and in some countries vote, drink or join an army.
Some other notable sixteens: Louis XVI, 16 personality types in the Myers-Briggs system, 16 pawns in a chess set, the F-16, and it’s the the age Sleeping Beauty pricks her finger and falls asleep.
Time once again for the animated, interactive, Brattleboro-centric, advent-ish calendar, featuring different scenes and local facts, sponsored by no one. The iBrattleboro Christmas Calendar.
While it is continually popular, we were debating whether to bring this back again this year. The Christmas Calendar is built in Flash, an ancient programming tool that is fading away. iPads and many other devices just don’t allow it anymore.
You may have heard rumors and yes, they are true. Lise and Chris have moved up river to Williamsville.
One might ask, and it is a reasonable question, why did we depart the town we love?
Many reasons, but the main one is that we could not find a good place to live within our budget within town limits. The places for sale in Brattleboro this summer were either gorgeous and expensive, or near-dumps.
From now until the end of August, all year-long ads on iBrattleboro are half price! That’s right, a one-time chance to be featured for an entire 12 month year, saving you five hundred dollars.
This is a big, color ad (300x300px) with a link to any web page you want, on a site that thousands check regularly to see what’s going on in Brattleboro and southern Vermont.
iBrattleboro.com is now using SSL – a Secure Sockets Layer certificate. It provides an encrypted link between a server and a client—in this case the web site and your browser.
We’re the first local news site in Brattleboro to do this for you, and we join our fellow community media sites BCTV and WVEW in doing so.
Normally, data such as logins and passwords, is sent between browsers and web servers in plain text. This makes a site vulnerable to a “man in the middle attack,” or site spoofing schemes.