This was going to be about the agenda for tomorrow's Council Meeting, but it's not posted yet, and since today is a Municipal holiday, I don't really expect to see it soon. I'll check tomorrow. But looking at the Town Calendar again this morning reminded me what an embarrassment it is to our community, so I decided to try to help the Powers That Be fix the problem.
This is meant mainly for the people who post items to the Norristown.org calendar and for whomever is overseeing the process (though I have to wonder if anyone is, now that the new app is more automated). It can also apply to those posting events to the OIC/TNP calendar or sending events to me for my Friday post, though Shae Ashe and I seem to have less trouble receiving more complete information.
Experienced writers will tell you that there are 6 things you need to tell a reader in every story or article: when, where, what, who, why, and how. The same goes for an event listing.
When: Day AND time.
Where: Physical location.
What: What the event is.
Who: Who is sponsoring or hosting or involved. Is there contact info?
Why: Why is the event happening? Is it a fundraiser? A weekly/monthly/annual meeting?
How: What does the reader need to do or bring? Is there an admission fee? Should they come early? Where can they park?
When I do event listings each Friday, I try to give as much of this information as possible, but at the very least, I'll give the first 4 bits of information. Frankly, if I can't find out when, where or what, I won't list the event at all. It's no good to anyone and just clutters the list.
On the new calendar, it seems easier for community members to submit their own events, but without the above info, submissions can be useless. But that's not the biggest problem.
As it is, no one is going to have the patience to figure out this system, let alone actually use it.
So here's my suggestion for what could fix this calendar,
assuming it's possible to get the programmer to do so (I hope we haven't
paid that invoice yet). Put the calendar month graphic right at the top
and let it be the same on every page, with the ability to click on
every day of the month. Let the default be for today's date, with a list
of events for the day right over or under the calendar, so people can
tell at a glance what's going on in town within the next 24 hours. The
boxes at the bottom, in my opinion, aren't useful and contribute to the
confusion, but if we have to have them, make it so they show more than
one event per day in that category, and default to the "Town Events"
Secondly, put a word or to about how to use the calendar on the page. Tell us where things are hidden.
Third -- have a municipal worker check every entry on the calendar for needed information. They should contact the person who submitted the info if more details are needed.
calendar is important and not only to keep our residents informed. It's part of our town's public persona. It gives a first impression. When strangers visit Norristown.org, they should
come away saying "Wow, look how many great and interesting things are happening in Norristown!" As it
is, at one glance, they'll think all we have are Council meetings.
Council meetings without agendas.