Earlier in the year while taking my daily tour of the TOS site, the counter that tracked visitors was sitting at 99,999 visitors to date. Thoughts of being some sort of a grand prize winner ran through my head as I logged on and watched as the counter rolled over to proclaim a total of 100,000 visitors. There were no pop up pages of balloons or banners claiming “congratulations to our 100,000th customer”, or anything else that might underscore the significance of reaching this milestone. In contrast to my expectations, the home page opened quietly, with no fanfare, doing what it always does, delivering the news and comments from around the city in a way no other organization or site has been able to do. As I read through the news and the comments (this is back when there were anonymous comments – and there were some doozies), I came to realize who the true winners were. It was the previous 99,999 visitors, the residents and neighbors, the concerned citizenry who look for the information needed to frame their opinion of just what’s important in this fine city. Agree/ disagree , support or condemn, where else would you find the kind of stories and debate found on this site? If you take a look at the top stories for 2009, you really get a sense of how the local media has been absent in it’s information stream. I still can’t get over how the Journal News assigned a professional comedian (Aman Ali) to cover the issues of the 7th largest city in New York State between his stand up routines. That alone speaks to the necessity of a site like this one. A place where anyone can have a voice, spark an idea, or join up with a thousand others who share the same opinion.
From the online newspaper "The Interim", Sue Careless has some thoughts on why a site like Talk of the Sound is not only welcomed, but needed. She writes “In cases like these, when the mainstream media ignores, trivializes or seriously distorts your cause or your community, then your cause or community needs its own media. If your people are never quoted or they are quoted inaccurately, if they are stereotyped or misinformation is spread about them, then they need their own face and voice. Every significant social movement has had its own media. “
There’s a lot of good in this city, and there’s a lot to work on. Bringing people together to work on the problems facing the city now has a method to connect the people who care most, and there are plenty of them. To borrow a line from one of my first stories “Things are bad. For many, it’s as bad as it will ever be in their lifetime. But, it will get better, and perhaps it will have more to do with what we do rather than what the politicians do.”
So congratulations to the real winners – you – and thank you, to Bob and all the contributors who take the time and commit themselves to make this a better place for all of us.
(PS – I heard there might be a prize for the one millionth visitor, so keep checking back for more info)
Happy New Year to All!