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By and for the people of Byron Shire…

July 27, 2011

Community Engine are working with the various communities of Byron Shire to pilot an all-new way to connect and share. We’ll be calling it ‘Connect Byron’. It’s a hybrid between a membership management platform (for groups that have free or paid members / followers), and a social media network.

A local performer sings for us at the weekly Mullum Farmer's markets. Image courtesy of: Venessa Paech

We’ve met great people over the last few weeks and learnt a lot of things about the Byron Shire – we’re more convinced now than ever that it’s the right place to pilot, and that people in the community will see the benefits and participate in the online version of their local communities.

What we’ve learnt very quickly is this:

  1. Every single person we’ve spoken to in the Byron Shire is delighted at the concept and has offered their support in some form.
  2. Each of these people has endorsed the notion that local people need to drive the platform in order for it to become the hub of ‘life in the village’.

This is great news, and we’re quickly defining the kinds of local people needed to make the ‘Connect Byron’ project a success. There are some who will (and already have) introduce us to other organisations in the community. People like Remy Tancred, Morgan Drew, Glenn Wright, Caroline Desmond and Deano Powers have been great in introducing us to others and even giving us feedback on how we’re doing.

There are other kinds of people we’re looking to meet, who may simply be willing to approach others on our behalf, to explain to them the local drive and benefits behind the Connect Byron program. Still others may simply want to attend a workshop to help us ensure the functionality and ways in which communities connect online are relevant to the needs of local shire folk.

It’s been great over the last few days seeing our product guys bringing the product slowly to life. It’s kind of like that first time you turn the ignition key to your new car – you now know it turns on, and can’t wait to see what it can do. But first things first…

It won’t be long now before we can start showing people on the ground in the shire, and encouraging them to use the platform (which is completely free by the way) to manage their community members, process payments, post events, and interact around important issues.

We really appreciate all the support received so far from around the community and will be paying special attention to making sure that the technology is ideally adapted for local people from Mullumbimby to Lennox Head! We were even in Newrybar just the other day…

If you’re interested in learning more, talk to one of the people listed above, or find me directly by emailing connectbyron@communityengine.com. I’m also on twitter @eyeonbyron.

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