What can Maplewood Online do more at the local level?

It's been harder and harder lately competing with FB and were getting more posts in the main section from out of towners.

Any thoughts or ideas would are welcome!  Any new local topics to chat about?  Maybe re-formatting the discussions list?

Maybe a lot of locals are only lurking.;  grin


Any thoughts on adopting some of the popular groups we see on FB, such as a "swap" group or "in search of" group?


jamie said:

It's been harder and harder lately competing with FB and were getting more posts in the main section from out of towners.

Any thoughts or ideas would are welcome!  Any new local topics to chat about?  Maybe re-formatting the discussions list?

Maybe a lot of locals are only lurking.; 
grin

That’s something I have been pondering for some time. 
Do we have any local “influencers” who are on social media, who would be willing to blog on MOL? 
How can you get the mayor and members of the town committee to join the discussions? I remember Vic was once very active on here, that would be refreshing to see again. I honestly don’t know what re-formatting the discussion list would do to get more locals involved in the discussion. 
Would you create a MOL facebook group? 


Jaytee said:

That’s something I have been pondering for some time. 
Do we have any local “influencers” who are on social media, who would be willing to blog on MOL? 
How can you get the mayor and members of the town committee to join the discussions? I remember Vic was once very active on here, that would be refreshing to see again. I honestly don’t know what re-formatting the discussion list would do to get more locals involved in the discussion. 
Would you create a MOL facebook group? 

We do have a mol page - but mostly for reports of outages and stuff.

https://www.facebook.com/groups/2210616581

I do have a blog module - I'll look it over first - then open it up to everyone for testing.  Then will figure out how best to implement it!


yahooyahoo said:

Any thoughts on adopting some of the popular groups we see on FB, such as a "swap" group or "in search of" group?

What do you mean by "adopt"?


Jamie:  Hear are some suggestions based on current issues of interest in Maplewood.

Recycling.  There is a lot of confusion and misunderstanding.  Some has been addressed in the existing thread.  It would be helpful to have a Q & A thread with a knowledgeable expert answering questions posted to a dedicated thread.

Animal Control.  St Hubert's contract has come to an end.  There is a temporary contract with Bloomfield that will only last for the next six months.  There are questions as to how to surrender animals now since Bloomfield will not take them and what the best long term solution would be.  Lots animal rescue and TNvR interest on MOL could support a discussion of next steps.

Revaluation.  Happening now in Maplewood and South Orange.  MOL has hosted a map in the past which tracked data for each property as the new assessments became available.  That would certainly create interest now.  Space where posters can share information and advice would also be welcome.

Accessibility has become an in topic.  Senior transportation in Maplewood is getting an accessible bus.  Maplewood TC is pushing for a more accessible train station.  A major pedestrian safety study of Maplewood has just begun.  Space where residents could post locations considered hazardous to pedestrians would be helpful.

Master Plan:  A space where residents and visitors can suggest ways in which the Master Plan can be adjusted to reflect present needs in Maplewood.  Maybe the Master Plan consultants would be willing to monitor it as a place to discuss issues that may not have been raised in the public meetings they have held.


As someone who is not on FB I find MOL very useful and Joan’s suggestions all make sense. The nonaccessibility of the train station never registered when I was younger but is a real issue now. Pedestrian safety, especially along and near Springfield Avenue, also more of an issue for me. I also wonder about the dining shacks on Maplewood Avenue. Unsightly and not convenient for pedestrians or drivers.




Bluehouse1 said:

As someone who is not on FB I find MOL very useful and Joan’s suggestions all make sense. The nonaccessibility of the train station never registered when I was younger but is a real issue now. Pedestrian safety, especially along and near Springfield Avenue, also more of an issue for me. I also wonder about the dining shacks on Maplewood Avenue. Unsightly and not convenient for pedestrians or drivers.



I am not a FB user, either. And while I live 10 minutes from SOMA, I have family and many friends there and I am a big MOL fan. 


joan_crystal said:

Jamie:  Hear are some suggestions based on current issues of interest in Maplewood.

Recycling.  There is a lot of confusion and misunderstanding.  Some has been addressed in the existing thread.  It would be helpful to have a Q & A thread with a knowledgeable expert answering questions posted to a dedicated thread.

Animal Control.  St Hubert's contract has come to an end.  There is a temporary contract with Bloomfield that will only last for the next six months.  There are questions as to how to surrender animals now since Bloomfield will not take them and what the best long term solution would be.  Lots animal rescue and TNvR interest on MOL could support a discussion of next steps.

Revaluation.  Happening now in Maplewood and South Orange.  MOL has hosted a map in the past which tracked data for each property as the new assessments became available.  That would certainly create interest now.  Space where posters can share information and advice would also be welcome.

Accessibility has become an in topic.  Senior transportation in Maplewood is getting an accessible bus.  Maplewood TC is pushing for a more accessible train station.  A major pedestrian safety study of Maplewood has just begun.  Space where residents could post locations considered hazardous to pedestrians would be helpful.

Master Plan:  A space where residents and visitors can suggest ways in which the Master Plan can be adjusted to reflect present needs in Maplewood.  Maybe the Master Plan consultants would be willing to monitor it as a place to discuss issues that may not have been raised in the public meetings they have held.


Juniemoon said:

...One more example of why Joan Crystal is one of the most "tuned in", thoughtful people I've ever gotten to meet during my many years on MOL.  Her ideas lead me to two more:

1) ANOTHER MOL F2F (Face to Face) gathering!  Remember when there was more than "online"?   When we communicated IRL?  I suppose there are some people here who want to preserve their "online" personas -- but don't most of us know each other by now?  Aren't there a few people left who we'd all like to get to know in person? 

 I don't claim to be an 
expert on societal issues, but I know from experience that many people (particularly women) of a certain age -- whose children have grown and left the nest (some husbands, too), who have retired and no longer have daily IRL interaction with others, who are still very mobile, and whose "senior moments" have not yet curtailed their interest in and ability to make a difference in our community, whose closest friends may have moved far away for their retirements -- are feeling a significant sense of loneliness in their lives. 

There was so much to be involved in when our kids were little -- that just doesn't seem to be there anymore (or I'm looking in the wrong places) ... a F2F might be just the way to re-connect.

This leads me to another of Joan's other ideas -- reinvigorating/re-educating and re-committng people to Recycling.  I'm appalled at how many friends my age DON'T recycle at all, have "given up" on it and can recite you a long list of why it "just doesn't work"   If there are ANY reasons why recycling isn't working, it may take a deep dive into all aspects of the whole recycling process that just have to be studied, given enough brain power (and holding some recyclers feet to the fire) and developing new ways of implementing & thinking to make it work better -- that's the only way to create change.

If anyone's up for chasing down the recyclers and making them as responsible for successful recycling as individuals take on -- or used to take on -- I'd love to team up with some motivated, out-of-box thinkers willing to take up the charge and making a difference -- COUNT ME IN!  Brain still works... time on my hands...and committed to leaving the best world possible to future generations.... Let's do it .


I love the idea of a face to face.  However, given the high percentage of posters who have moved out of the area and the prevalence of COVID concern among local residents of a certain age, I would like to propose a virtual face to face option over one of the currently available video conferencing platforms.  Breakout rooms could be used to encourage small group conversation. 


Building further on the in person gathering theme, I miss the community service and community building projects that were such an integral part of MOL in the past and seem to have disappeared altogether now.  Hopefully, there is a way to bring some of that back.


I think the best thing to do now is to retire MOL. It had its day but, at this point, it barely registers. No one who’s moved to the area in the last 15 years has even heard of it. Those still here, as you mentioned, are most likely no longer SOMA residents (and those who are still SOMA residents can suck it up and join FB for a better local experience). MOL is the MySpace of SOMA. Retire it, ask Mary Mann to write a nice article about you closing shop, Have a small get together, maybe she can get a picture or two and then take MOL offline. Thanks for the memories!


algebra2 said:

I think the best thing to do now is to retire MOL. It had its day but, at this point, it barely registers. No one who’s moved to the area in the last 15 years has even heard of it. Those still here, as you mentioned, are most likely no longer SOMA residents (and those who are still SOMA residents can suck it up and join FB for a better local experience). MOL is the MySpace of SOMA. Retire it, ask Mary Mann to write a nice article about you closing shop, Have a small get together, maybe she can get a picture or two and then take MOL offline. Thanks for the memories!

Completely disagree. 

No surprise coming from you. 


Jamie, have you already weighed the costs and benefits of outside promotion? Like one of those small billboards at the train stations, ads in the CHS sports and musical programs, etc., just to get the word back out there. (“Maplewood Online: All the subjects you want to discuss and learn about, with only a little algebra.”)


Entertainment listings? PAID entertainment listings? 


jamie said:

yahooyahoo said:

Any thoughts on adopting some of the popular groups we see on FB, such as a "swap" group or "in search of" group?

What do you mean by "adopt"?

Offer


Sounds like my joint venture with Redfruit Industries isn't going to happen.  grin

Thanks for the feedback - I have a few ideas!


Delete the Politics Section.  Was allowed to be overrun and destroyed the site, imho.


Maybe make the Calendar/Events page more comprehensive and searchable to become the local go-to source (although likely a lot of effort to maintain)? Bring in the info from disparate sources: FB, township page, Village Green. Make it a database so those interested in different things can find what they are looking for activities for families, kids, garage sales, township meetings, BOE, voting, recycling and leaf schedule, by town, etc.

And if any of the calendared activities (e.g., recycling) has a thread about it, link them.


DaveSchmidt said:

Jamie, have you already weighed the costs and benefits of outside promotion? Like one of those small billboards at the train stations, ads in the CHS sports and musical programs, etc., just to get the word back out there. (“Maplewood Online: All the subjects you want to discuss and learn about, with only a little algebra.”)

I always hated algebra…geometry is my thing.


Jaytee said:

DaveSchmidt said:

Jamie, have you already weighed the costs and benefits of outside promotion? Like one of those small billboards at the train stations, ads in the CHS sports and musical programs, etc., just to get the word back out there. (“Maplewood Online: All the subjects you want to discuss and learn about, with only a little algebra.”)

I always hated algebra…geometry is my thing.

That's 'cuz you're such a square. 


jamie said:

Sounds like my joint venture with Redfruit Industries isn't going to happen. 
grin

Thanks for the feedback - I have a few ideas!

It was never going to happen. You have to have two like minds or at least two that are working towards the same end goal.


The_Soulful_Mr_T said:

That's 'cuz you're such a square. 

at least all my angles are right…. smile


BarneyGumble said:

Delete the Politics Section.  Was allowed to be overrun and destroyed the site, imho.

Or double down on Politics and sponsor Lincoln v Douglas style debates featuring some of the main protagonists. At the Gate in winter , Memorial Park in nicer weather. 


Smedley said:

BarneyGumble said:

Delete the Politics Section.  Was allowed to be overrun and destroyed the site, imho.

Or double down on Politics and sponsor Lincoln v Douglas style debates featuring some of the main protagonists. At the Gate in winter , Memorial Park in nicer weather. 

Obviously, no one's told Smedley about MOL Mondays at the Gate. But you have to be there for the early bird special, the Politics Section attracts an older crowd these days.


BarneyGumble said:

Delete the Politics Section. Was allowed to be overrun and destroyed the site, imho.

The MOL site that I call up keeps the Politics threads off my screen unless I choose on my own to go there. Has for a while.


MOL is laid out much better for conversation than Facebook.


crazy_quilter said:

MOL is laid out much better for conversation than Facebook.

I wonder if that's what keeps some politicians away.  On the Facebook, they can post and any serious disagreement can't get any "traction" because (a) it may not be seen and (b) it quickly disappears by sinking below the weight of other responses.

The MOL format is very useful if you want dialogue, but maybe a lot of people don't want that.  They just want a funnel like the Facebook.


nohero said:

I wonder if that's what keeps some politicians away.  On the Facebook, they can post and any serious disagreement can't get any "traction" because (a) it may not be seen and (b) it quickly disappears by sinking below the weight of other responses.

The MOL format is very useful if you want dialogue, but maybe a lot of people don't want that.  They just want a funnel like the Facebook.

I think some people who have been banned repeatedly from MOL would be licking their chops to see Jamie close this site down. 


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