Building Community Through Conversation
By Christina Freeman
"Branching Out" / Photo Illustration by Nate Brothers
By Nate Brothers and Deborah Olsen
Talk to us, people. We want to hear from you, now more than ever.
Still hot under the collar over our article last spring about fracking with butane in the Yampa Valley? Have your own ideas about professional women who should be honored in “Women Who Rock the ‘Boat?” Want to let everyone know that your friend is the featured artist at next month’s First Friday Artwalk?
We now have the ideal platform to spread the word.
Steamboatmagazine.com was one of the very first – if not the first –website to go live in the Yampa Valley back in the mid-‘90s. Before the ski area; before the Chamber, before the Realtors (!). When we first told people about it, their eyes glazed over. Worldwide Web? URL? Windows? We might as well have been speaking Greek. Google didn’t even exist back then.
In the past year, www.steamboatmagazine.com has generated more than 2.5 million hits. And this summer, we took it down. Literally.
Since the website’s genesis, the conversation has been one-sided and that is quickly changing. Today the site is emboldened by a fresh idea. We reconstructed steamboatmagazine.com so that our readers can join the discussion. A community dashboard highlights and encourages original user content.
Steamboatmagazine.com is becoming a tool for the betterment of the community, a place where patrons share their blogs, their ideas and their events. If you have an amazing scoop, photograph or video or simply want your voice to be heard, please share it at Steamboatmagazine.com first.We’ll take it from there. Our new digital framework will quickly amplify your voice over your favorite social media portals, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and more. Steamboatmagazine.com will provide a direct link to your neighbors’ network.
Have you ever wanted to share something with the entire town? It is as simple as starting an account and posting on the website’s dashboard. Events will be stored on the calendar and your content will be emblazoned with powerful search engine optimization. Google will notice you, and you will have the power of organic promotion through everyone’s connected networks.
This idea began a few months back when “Steamboat Magazine” was asked to join Locable, a nationwide network of magazine publishers. We were honored to be invited (we personally think they were attracted by the ‘glamour’ of a ski town.) Locable, as the network is called, is based on the premise that the main street of the 21st century is a virtual one. Belonging to a network of similar sites offers the ability to increase our audience exponentially.
To promote these powerful new ideas, Steamboatmagazine.com is hosting its first ever “Bloggers’ Contest.” Bloggers, this is your chance to be heard on a community stage. The prize will make it worth your time. Visit us online (where else?) for the details.
Start an account on Steamboatmagazine.com and post your blog today. The community will vote on its favorites and prizes will be awarded in September.
We’re proud of “Steamboat Magazine’s” classic look: its substance, style and stories. But every now and then, we have to fight the urge to push the boundaries, to get a little edgy, to show our artistic side. In short, to wander into untracked territory.
We’ve got unbelievable photographers, videographers and writers who don’t just follow new trends; they set them. Aryeh Copa doesn’t stand on the sidelines waiting for a skier to come into his camera’s field of vision; he carries a chainsaw to carve a landing in a steep crevice for his extreme-ski model. Corey Kopischke’s eyes should be the subject of study. He sees things the rest of us just don’t visualize, until he translates them into unique images that make us go utter words like “amazing!” and “awesome!” And Jennie Lay, well, if she comes into the office with a story idea, it doesn’t matter that we’ve never heard that subject being discussed. Within days, it’s going to be news. How she manages to stay so far ahead of the curve, we don’t know. Maybe facebook?
We want to cover the whole story of life in the ‘Boat, and that means multimedia. Tablet editions and smart phone apps have harnessed the power of audio, video and even touch. Publishing no longer points exclusively to print. Interconnectivity is the digital evangelist’s mojo.
The need to dig deeper and present content through video, audio and the written word are intrinsic to the human condition. Different people process information differently. The ability to share video and audio means publishers connect with people that have not connected before, effectively reaching new demographics.
In January, the more adventurous members of the staff that brings you “Steamboat Magazine” will launch a tablet magazine: “Untracked.” We’ll dig deeper into our unique Rocky Mountain community. The ability to tell stories about winter and summer athletes and community members through interactive video is the ability to add depth to a story.
The consensus is that 56.2 million iPads have been sold worldwide. Laid out end-to-end, 56.2 million iPads would stretch from Apple's headquarters in Cupertino, Calif., to Manhattan Island in New York. Then back to Cupertino and then halfway back across the country. Technology once coveted by Star Trek fans is in the hands of grandmas and toddlers.
Publishers everywhere are harnessing these powerful devices to create fun and beautiful interactive publications. “Untracked” will push new creative boundaries and allow the talented staff members at “Steamboat Magazine” to present content beyond the printed page.
Funding for this project is coming from an unconventional source: our fans. Crowd-source funding is the trendiest thing to hit the internet since you first poked someone on Facebook.com. The idea is simple. Take the producers and bankers out of the equation.
Kickstarter.com has launched 62,628 projects with a combined $274 million raised for the arts and start-up projects. Creators share their concepts through video and then offer unique incentives for varying levels of funding contributions.
These incentives allow fans to be part of the action. Kickstarter inspires support for artistic and innovative projects. A time limit, usually between 30 and 60 days, and a financial goal are set. Projects have a clear focus and end date, and no money changes hands until the time is up and the goal is successfully met. Kickstarter.com reports that approximately 40% of projects meet their funding goals. Success relies on the project’s creators offering exciting products and worthwhile incentives.
If you would like to support “Steamboat Magazine’s” first-ever crowd funded project, visit Kickstarter.com and search for “Untracked” tablet magazine. You will be prompted to watch a video about the project. “Untracked” offers incentives including commemorative posters, stickers and a custom-run coffee table book created by the artists at “Steamboat Magazine.” The Ultimate Powder Day package, the most expensive incentive, includes a guided Powder Cats trip into the backcountry on Buffalo Pass as well as dinner at the end of the day. A photographer will accompany you and the best photos from the day will be featured in a future edition of the tablet magazine; immortalizing your powder day.
Join us for the exciting ride as Ski Town Publications, Inc. is transformed into Ski Town Media, Inc., the authentic voice of Steamboat Springs and Northwest Colorado.