The Blog is up and running and I've set up a Google Group for the Chapter. Hopefully, this will help us discuss things throughout the month rather than just having a cram session every month at our Chapter meetings.
At this point, the Chapter in online in three places: The website, this Blog, and the discussion group. I'd like to get them all together at some point, but for now, let's just see if they work at all.
My idea for it all is this: the WEBSITE will remain (mostly) as it is, fairly static in nature. It is the Chapter's primary online presence, and will represent the Chapter to the surveying community at large, and the world for that matter. (There are some updates in the works for the website, but they are still a few months away from being presentable.)
This BLOG will be used as more of an ongoing way for the Chapter to present up-to-date information to the Chapter members. Chapter reports & minutes, State reports and other notable information can be posted for the Chapter's review as it happens. The blog also hosts polls for the Chapter members, and information feeds (updated daily) from various trade magazines (POB & American Surveyor) linking to their most current stories. Right now, only the Chapter Officers can post to the blog (that may change), but the Chapter members can post comments to any of the blog posts. The blog is private, for members only, and is not listed on any blog lists, however anyone who navigates to it can read it.
The GOOGLE GROUP is a discussion group to be used by all of the members of the Chapter. We often have good discussions at our Chapter meeting about things that are concerning us as a group (ie.: the blue border discussion), and I've seen those discussion continue in the parking lot after our meeting. This group will be a way for us to contine those discussions with each other thoroughout the month. Any member of the discussion group can post and/or reply. (Please keep the flames to a minimum.) The group is private, for members only, and is not listed on any public group lists, however anyone who navigates to it can read it.
With both the Blog & discussion group, you will need a google account to participate. It is as simple as an email address and a password. I chose Google for a couple of reasons. First, it's free - the Chapter is not being charged for the blog or the discussion group. Second, Google accounts are unbeliveably functional and they're spam free.
I'm not sure how it will ultimately work at this point. I don't expect the Blog & discussion group to replace the website, only to augment and add to it. Time will tell how it all comes togther for everyone. If you have any comments, suggestions, criticisms, etc., let me know. I'll see what I can do.