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My project HasseltLokaal has finally left the ‘research-stage’. Last week was decided to bring it into an operational environment. This means that from today on, the content manager of HBvL.be is responsible for the content and the community on HasseltLokaal. Feels great to have delivered a good project, I must say, and it gives the research department here the space and time to start new projects, some of them based on HasseltLokaal. 

However, I’m a bit worried. I wonder whether the people of the internet desk are aware how important and above all how fragile a community is. That you have to hug and pamper your people, especially since they provide content on a voluntary basis. I cross my fingers that everything turns out well 🙂 I keep you up to date.

Meanwhile, we have framed more than 2.000 people with the HasseltLokaal campaign. Guess I’m a happy person.

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Like I told in the former entry, the running event Dwars door Hasselt is very special to HasseltLokaal. For several reasons.

First of all, it was the first event for the citizen reporters. In October 2005, the first citizen reporters were present at Dwars door Hasselt, making pictures of the athletes and the public. The content was put on our provisional website (we even didn’t have our website and used a wiki :-)) and on a mobile platform some volunteers of the i-City project had set up for the occasion. We shared a tent with them and had a great time, even though we had to get up at 5 am to make sure the wireless networks and other technical stuff were ok. At our tent, particpants could consult their times on the PDA’s i-City had provided and they could see the arrival live on a television screen together with the pictures the citizen reporters had made. So at Dwars door Hasselt, we ‘outed’ ourselves for the first time 🙂

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Secondly, we always try to do something new at Dwars door Hasselt. This year, we offically launched our new campaign. Citizen reporters and promotion girls have been walking around with frames all day, to literally frame the public and the participants. It became a great success. We usually have about 1.200 unique visitors a day. Right now (5:00 pm), already 1.500 unique visitors clicked on the photo album to look for their picture.

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And thirdly, Dwars door Hasselt was also a bit special to me. Because I lost a bet, I had to run my 3 kilometres in the outfit of a football team I don’t really like. Luckily, the sports event is not really about best times but about fun. In other words, there were people with much crazier outfits so that I wasn’t attracking that much attention 🙂

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Finally some words about my own project, HasseltLokaal. There’s actually a lot going on this week. And it all starts TOMORROW, yes 🙂

First of all we are discovering the challenges and oppurtunities of ‘reverse printing’: making a print edition of an online platform.  The 11th and the 12th of October, the first HasseltLokaal magazine will be dropped in every mail box in Hasselt (30.000). Twenty articles of the citizen reporters have been selected from the website and will ‘shine’ in it. A golden jubilee, tree frogs in Hasselt nature park, happy people in the hospital, companies of Hasselt doing sports,…It is all covered within the magazine. Moreover, 20 local traders have put their ads in it. On the picture, you see citizen reporter Ulrike with the magazine.

Main goal is to find out whether the people of Hasselt are interested in local news and whether traders want to pay for ads in hyperlocal magazines. Therefore, an inquiry is set up. The experiment will be repeated in November. Afterwards we hope to have gathered enough information about the possibilities of (hyperlocal) reverse printing. We can research this thanks to a subsidy of the Flemish government.

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Secondly, there is a new promotion campaign for HasseltLokaal. Our marketing guy Engin (on the picture) has worked out a very original idea with frames. On several events in Hasselt, people can have their photographs taken in very small, larger or extra large frames. Afterwards, their pictures are displayed on our website. Like this, we literally and figuratively want to frame the people of Hasselt. Tomorrow will be our take off, at the Students Take-Off. On Sunday the 14th of October, we will be at the running competition Dwars door Hasselt, to which I will come back in a later entry because it is a very important event to us. Finally, at the 20th and 21st of October, our frames will be displayed, carried, and hopefully used a lot during the famous drinking weekend in Hasselt: de Jeneverfeesten. Check out the pictures from tomorrow on at the photo album of HasseltLokaal.

With this campaign, we want to entice people living, studying and working in Hasselt to our platform and we want to work on our visibility in the ‘offline world’. The magazine will contribute to that goal as well. People who won’t notice HasseltLokaal the next few days in Hasselt, must in other words be a little blind.

To be honest, it is quite something that’s going on, so I’ll keep you up-to-date.

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