What a ride the last few days have been. It’s been about 72 hours since I launched IowaFlood.com and I can say I have learned a lot, and not just technical but about Word of Mouth, Citizen Journalism, our local community, and the generosity and communal nature of Iowans. So almost 72 hours, 3 servers, and 40,000 hits later let me recap the story.
First off, I have been asked on several occasions why I built this website. My first response was, “Because I can”. This was not meant to be arrogant or egotistical – just straightforward. I knew the mainstream media would not embrace the social aspect (at least not til I showed them how). I know the technology like the back of my hand (more on that later). And I knew I could get the word out – through the local twitter community.
My second response is that social media and citizen journalism are, by nature, a de-centralized system. There’s conversation going on in Twitter and on blogs. There are photos being uploaded to Flickr and forwarded via email. There are videos popping up on YouTube. Unless you have your ear to the social ground this great content may have passed you up. Enter IowaFlood.com. The goal was to centralize this ecosystem of user generated content into an organized flow for the mainstream public to follow.
Did you just do it to make money off ads and generate traffic from a disaster? This is a valid question, since I do run ads on the website. The answer, wholeheartedly, is no. I did this for my home state of Iowa and everyone who is looking for information on a natural disaster. I did it for social media and citizen journalism. I did it for you. The money from ads (which is approaching $5) will go to pay for the website, which thus far has cost about 50x the ad revenue to scale the hosting, database, and bandwidth. This was all gladly paid for by 48Web. Any money made on advertisements above and behind the hosting costs will go to charity.
I want to thank the local Des Moines twitter community. I just built a website – you created the value. I also want to thank everyone for their nice comments and support – that makes it all worth doing.
— Feedback —
WNYC Interview on The Takeaway (MP3 shortly)
Nathan Wright on Citizen Journalism
Todd Mundt on HyperLocal Reporting
I also want to thank the Des Moines Register for contributing to the site. Their cooperation was much needed and much appreciated.
And more coming in…