Once again, around 6:00 a.m., another twilight moment occurred before I was fully awake. It centered on our community and how knowledgeable its citizens are about all the “good deed” activities, events, and projects that take place throughout the year that enhance and improve the quality of life in “Our River Town.” The Argus-Courier’s “Petaluma360” web site is one such source for this information, but how many residents access it on a regular basis? How many people learn about these “good deeds” in the printed editions of the Argus-Courier, the Press Democrat, and/or viewing Petaluma Community Access?

If we think about our community as a spider web with all its interconnected threads, how effective and efficient are these types of communication or networks? The terms, “Petaluma Net Web” and “Petaluma Web Net” come to mind. I’m not certain which one represents my twilight moment best. Even before the Argus-Courier created its community web site, we had an initiative called “Petaluma Net” in 1995, that promoted greater use of computers and telecommunications in our schools as well as creating the first community web site known as PEN …  “Petaluma Electronic Network.” PEN was the result of a dream for a web site that would provide all citizens of the community with a source of information pertaining to many sectors of community life: education, health, business, government, non-profit organizations, home/family, news and activities. But, like so many all volunteer projects, due to lack of funding, it faded away. In due time, other projects got started.

For example, Petaluma’s “Aqus Community,” founded by John Crowley is one highly successful initiative that currently has links to 30 business members, 29 non-profit members, and two affiliates.  The Aqus community is a membership organization devoted entirely to building community. Its online site publishes news items, a calendar of events, and a newsletter. They focus on furthering the connection between people of all kinds, their non-profits and businesses in the spirit of mutual trust, support, and appreciation. Their goal is to strengthen, empower, and enrich our local community both for ourselves and future generations. It certainly represents the Petaluma Net Web concept.   http://www.aquscommunity.net/

The challenge today, however, is how best to motivate the majority of citizens in Petaluma to actively interact, on a regular basis, with some form of community “Web Net” that represents all sectors of a community.

Stay tuned for future blogs devoted to this topic.