Photo by Natalie Hudson
Everyone at CREATE South was extremely supportive of TheDigitel, including Kelly Higgins of Kelly Marie Photography
Update 4/13/2012: It's CREATE South-eve and I thought it might be a good idea to bring this original announcement post to the top for our new readers we've gained over the past year.
I am proud of what we have built. Particularly given our limited resources: just a few locals with some passion and a tight (really tight) budget have built this thing that informs, entertains, and connects our community on a daily basis. I can't thank you enough for allowing us to share a moment in your busy lives whether it be through your daily web routine, your Facebook feed, email inbox, or your Twitter stream. One of our guiding principles is to always appreciate and respect the time our readers give to us.
It's not always roses. We certainly have been prone to mistakes and failed experiments. Despite those bumps in the road, I can confidently say we are one of the best ways to read about local Myrtle Beach news and stories online. We have established ourselves as a brand and we have consistently seen our positive influence on the community and our media colleagues. Hopefully we've inspired people to take chances to create their own thing or make an effort to support those that are trying. Again– it's one of our core principles in everything we do.
Finally, it is with hat in hand I ask that if you like what we do and also own a business, or have something to promote, please let us share how we can help you reach the smartest and savviest of Myrtle Beach online.
PS - If you're reading this Friday night or Saturday morning, it's not too late to show up and participate in CREATE South 2012!
First Report: I announced TheDigitel Myrtle Beach to an eager crowd of artisans, geeks, and tinkerers at the CREATE South 2011 keynote on April 9th. Since then, we've been going full throttle and the community support has been overwhelmingly positive.
It was a no-brainer to announce our site at the 4th annual CREATE South 2011 conference. CREATE South is the essence of the "make things happen" ethos that powers TheDigitel Myrtle Beach.
About 4 years ago, I was talking with my pal Andre Pope about this really cool new site that launched in Charleston. It had interesting local stories and anyone could post or edit them. But even with the open publishing policy, the website managed to maintain a very clean and easy to use design. In other words, it was not your typical news media website. We loved it and wanted one for Myrtle Beach.
When you live in Myrtle Beach, you sort of grow used to the other cities getting the cool stuff first. But it doesn't have to be that way.
Most of the time we just watch, wait, and hope that it will eventually get to us. It's a pattern that I, and a few other locals, have made an effort to break for the last few years. We don't see Myrtle Beach as a cultural black hole. We see it as a blank canvas where we can make an appreciable difference, expand our horizons, and uplift our community.
The problem with being a catalyst of change or spark of New is that it's really hard work. It's like going to a dance club. There's risk of rejection, misunderstanding, and disappointment. Most people can't deal with that. So they sit idle. They wait for the World to stop spinning and ask them for a dance.
Guess what? The World ain't going to stop spinning anytime soon and blaming Myrtle Beach for your boredom is like blaming the chair for making you sit in it.
I'm tempted to wring a bit more out of this dance metaphor. But I'll end my rant here. Where were we? Ah yes- TheDigitel launch. As you might guess, I got tired of waiting for TheDigitel to magically decide they needed to be in Myrtle Beach. I started looking into how I could make it happen.
I'm a pretty capable software and graphics guy so I could have started working on a rip-off of what I thought TheDigitel is (another Myrtle Beach pattern I hope changes some day). But that would have been a huge mistake. Even though TheDigitel brand didn't carry a lot of weight in our area and we're still figuring things out, I'd like to think you can feel the soul of TheDigitel carried through to our site. But make no mistake, TheDigitel Myrtle Beach is a Myrtle Beach based business and website created for and by Myrtle Beach area residents.
Even with the headstart, it has been a lot of work behind the scenes. Ken Hawkins, Andre Pope, Rocky Dohmen, and I spent many long, late nights trying to whip the site into shape for launch day. Though we are all extremely proud of what we have today, there's still loads of work to do. There are tons of features we want to implement. We need to find our voice and rhythm. We need to educate the citizens on what we are and market ourselves to the community. Oh yeah... we need to turn it into a viable business as well.
If you've read this far: Congratulations! You've passed the test and we'd like to recruit you into our Open Community.
We need you to help us find all of the truly cool stuff that goes on in our area so we can shine a light on it. Get out of your chair, make things happen, and tell us about it. Tell your neighbors about us too. TheDigitel Myrtle Beach is your dance floor.