Building on the hyper-local focus of its online directory, the Community Post is the second phase of Powell River Connect’s suite of online community-connecting tools.
Powell River Community Post provides an outlet for community members to share their knowledge, expertise and passions. Submitted posts are categorized and presented in an easy-to-browse magazine format. The site features moderated discussion forums that provide a safe place for the discussion of topics of local importance or general interest.
Site creator Corey Matsumoto launched Powell River Connect in 2016 beginning with a comprehensive directory of businesses and community groups. Taglined: “A free Google-optimized web presence for everyone,” the online directory has grown over the years and now has over 1,000 listings. The directory allows the public to explore Powell River in a fun new way, discovering businesses they may not have previously been aware of. It also gives small-business owners an online presence without the costs and burden of managing a website of their own.
Many of the listings were added by volunteers, and Corey encourages business owners to find and claim their listings so they can keep them up to date and correct errors.
Powell River Connect is a project aimed to strengthen the local economy and help build a thriving, vibrant community, he says.
A small-business owner himself, Corey owns and operates PR Macs and CMG Printing on Marine Avenue.
“There are so many small businesses in the region offering quality products and services that people don't know exist.” he says. “That's a shame.”
In addition to the obvious benefits of the directory, local businesses and community groups can now find an outlet in the Community Post to engage directly with community members. Corey encourages informative articles that educate readers about topics relevant to the offerings of local businesses. However, obvious sales pitches with little meaningful content will be rejected.
“If your article lacks an educational or engaging component, you’re doing it wrong,” Corey asserts.
Fees are not charged for posting articles, but writing and editing services are available at various rates to ensure articles read like a pro.
“Although we welcome engaging posts by businesses and organizations, I’m mostly looking for regular everyday people who would like to share their knowledge and viewpoints, start a regular column, or get involved in other ways,” he says. “We’re going to need a lot of comment moderators!”
Corey credits the local swap and shop page on Facebook as providing some of the impetus for the expansion.
"There are so many great, intense, thought-provoking community discussions on the site, but it’s really not the right place to be having these discussions,” he says. “There’s no continuity and well-articulated thoughts are just flushed down the stream.”
Corey created the Community Post forums to become a hub for respectful discussion of local issues and anything of importance to the community.
“We all have different ideas of how we can improve our community. This is a place where the ideas of fellow community members from all walks of life can come together to create fertile ground to grow wiser and stronger together as a community.”
The site, unlike other social media sites, does not traffic in user data, track ads or engage in for-profit personal data mining. Corey says he designed it to have a clean, uncluttered look, without external advertising or flashy ads. The site is funded by the Local Logic rewards program, a model that avoids heavy dependence on advertising.
The website is now live at powellriverconnect.com.
For more information about contributing to The Community Post, the public is invited to stop by Matsumoto's shop at 4691 Marine Avenue or call him at 604.485.2337.