It happens to the best of programs. Happy Days begat Joni Loves Chachi. Friends gave us Joey. Cheers turned into Frasier. Now, the WSDOT Blog is birthing a spin-off of its own, a blog specifically for individual projects.
Thousands of people interested in Washington transportation issues have visited this blog since it was started in December 2006. We were experiencing a difficult winter and we wanted an additional tool to help share information, and hear from people about what they were thinking. So, the WSDOT Blog was born. More than a year and a half later, I'd say it has been mostly successful.
We've tried to keep the conversation casual. Formality has its place, but it's not here. You have a comment post it and we'll get back to you right away (note: Please avoid profanity. Fonzi didn't need it in Happy Days and we don't need it here. As a professional writer, I know it's possible to make a point without profanity.). The blog has led us to try other tools, like Facebook, podcasts on iTunes, YouTube, and Flickr.
We'll be trying out other tools this year. You might see us on Twitter, or Slideshare? We want to be accessible and available and that means taking Washington transportation information to where the people are already gathering. It's the same reason why you'll see WSDOT booths at local community fairs and festivals this summer. That's where the people are.
So why a new blog and why focus on a specific project? Well, there's an old adage that "all news is local." We know that people will rally around a single issue or project if it is in their backyard or if it affects their community. The Guide Meridian projects are likely to significantly affect local traffic and this is an area about which folks have cared for some time. We also have a willing project team committed to regular blog updates. One of the biggest bummers about blogging is when they aren't regularly updated.
Yes, we have a new spin-off. We'll see if you think it is worth the effort.
And a year and a half after launching the WSDOT Blog, I appreciate the support and interest you've shown in our effort to share information and, in turn, hear back from you.
Lloyd Brown, WSDOT communications director, firstname.lastname@example.org