Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Remember the Basics – Paying Attention to Avoid Going Up in Smoke

Locals are well aware of the pesky mulch fire just outside of San Antonio. The fire began on Christmas and still is burning. Officials have argued about who will pay the millions of dollars it is taking to put it out – before trying to put it out. Air quality experts have been arguing with water quality experts about which is more important. And the rest of us have been coughing and wheezing back and forth to the doctor. School children and local residents have even been relocated. Experts have been assembling from across the state.

During the same time, I’ve been painfully reminded that while learning about new media, you still have to tend to the old. Beginning at about the same time as the mulch fire, our chapter web site has been “under the weather” as well. The web-based editing tool we’d been using started having trouble, and the software company wanted us or our web host to by a service agreement before they would help fix the problem. Which of course we refused to do. So our web host has been looking for a new program and agreed to make our edits for us. But they’ve got bigger fish to fry and have kind-of forgotten about us. In the meantime, visitors in March were seeing promotions for an event in early February.

Wow, the local PR association can’t even keep its web site up to date. Just like the mulch fire, no one is at fault (except for the match-holder). But it can’t go on.

So this week, we set up a temporary web page using Google’s cool page builder tool, which is in beta, and set up a redirect.

We are also taking steps to create a whole new web site. This was actually already in the works, which is why we weren’t yelling at the web host to find new software faster. The new site should be ready in a couple of months. It will include new features like a directory of local PR firms, information on what our local PRSSA (student) chapter is up to at UTSA, and a section on our chapter’s community service.

It will also enable us to ramp up our blog to include basic tools like tagging and displaying photos. It’ll be like a breath of fresh air!

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