Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Remember Bulletin Boards?

Remember bulletin boards? You might if you grew up in the 1950s, back when cork-and-pin bulletin boards were still a popular way to share public notices. In the mid-1990s, the Internet relegated bulletin boards to the dustbin of history. Except in government. The dustbin of history is government's natural habitat. That's evident from the notice that includes the excerpt above.

After the jump, my forlorn plea for the City of Richardson to get with the 21st century.

That snippet above comes from a notice posted by the City of Richardson announcing a meeting of the city council and staff with former state representative Fred Hill in Austin. I'll give you a minute here to go to the city's website and see if you can find where the notice is posted online.

Hint 1: it's not under "Government -> City Council -> Council Meeting Calendar."
Hint 2: it's not under "Government -> Boards, Commissions, & Meetings -> All Meetings."

Go ahead, try to find it. I'll wait...

Did you find it? Congratulations. If not, don't feel bad. It was under
"Government -> Boards, Commissions, & Meetings -> Council Documents - HOA and Other Meetings."

That was a relatively easy challenge because you knew what you were looking for. What if I asked you to find the online version of all notices posted today on that cork-and-pin bulletin board at city hall, without referring to the cork-and-pin bulletin board at all? I think they are all online, too, but who can say for sure. It's a busy website with a complicated structure. Where would you even begin to look for new postings? When would you know to stop looking because you found them all?

Come on, Richardson. State law might force you to maintain that cork-and-pin antique, but state law doesn't forbid you from also using an online page to mirror what you post on the physical bulletin board at city hall, does it? While you're at it, when you do post a new notice, how about using Twitter and Facebook and Google+ and RSS to let residents of the city know about it, with a link to that online bulletin board?

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