My new column is up, with so verrry important info about the lottery. http://ping.fm/kNsy0's_Columns


So long, farewell, Auf wiedersehen, good night - Except not really.

Well there you have it. Some good news and some bad news. Bad news first - I won't be adding anymore (beyond this entry) to BentOnBenton.com. Jim has kicked my butt a few times with the idea of expanding to Saline County. I always told him that I eventually would, but that I didn't have time for two websites. I actually have a few more than that if you count Shketches, I See Faces and Shelli's Belly, but as quirky and happy-dance inducing as they are, you'll find by the post dates that my attention to them is sporadic at best.

Back to Saline County. I found out about Ning.com through my Tech Crunch newsletter on or about July 10, 2007. I tried it for a few days as SalineCounty.ning.com. I then decided it wasn't too much of a gamble to throw $10 at Google Apps to buy the domain name MySaline.com. At that point, membership was at 20 or less and a good quarter of that was family. At 30 members, I started moving BentOnBenton's archives to MySaline just to beef up the content available there. A few new members later, the fourth sentence of this post occurred to me. Now that we're at 42 members, with others joining about every day or so, and site traffic at more than twice what BentOnBenton was pulling in, it has become evident to me that my focus should shift from my beloved BoB to my new love [ Lara's Theme ] MySaline.com. ahhh...

So, yup - there it is. The good news (remember I said there was good news too) is that the BentOnBenton archives will be on MySaline for any member to see. And membership is free. AND! I will still be doin' my thang in Benton, as well as the other cities in Saline County. I really hope BoB's visitors will become converts to MySaline.com. You do have to join in order to use it, but there are so many features on MySaline.com that BoB just didn't have. And there are bound to be a slew of other cool things as Ning.com grows.

Right now, aside from getting news from all over the county, you can also make your own page and post your own stuff. You can make friends and join groups. You can do your blogging on your page or you can post to the forum. You can also post photos, videos and music files. You can see when other members are online and message them privately or comment on their page. And now, you can even get an email address with the suffix MySaline.com. If you'd like to email me and tell me you love the change, it's shellirussell@mysaline.com. If you'd like to email me and tell me the idea stinks, it's file13@SorryICantHearYouTheresABananaInMyEar.com.

In closing, I want to thank all the people who have made BentOnBenton a special place over the year and a half that I have been producing it. Even all you varmints who never commented a peep even when I asked people to do so!! Ya heatherns! Well anyway, thanks, yo. And now, step into the light. MySaline.com



On SalineCounty.ning.com: New url, great stats, valuable features

I'm proud to announce some great news about SalineCounty.ning.com

Firstly, there is a new, easier way to get to the page...

...is the new web address, effective as of much too late Wednesday night when I finally got it configured. If you don't want to change your bookmark, don't worry, you can still get there with the old web address too. Look for a new logo and a shop full of goodies to show your deep affection for MySaline.com!

Next, and equally invigorating (for me at least) are the site's statistics after only two weeks. As I write this, we're up to 17 members, which is "decent" for such a small niche network, but… when I look at the statistics page today - the one that documents the number of visits - I see that there have been over 1,800 visits since the official first day of July 12th! That averages to nearly 130 visits per day! Sweet action!

That also alludes to the probability that there are many people looking, but not joining. Either that or each member individually has visited an average of over 100 times! I know the site is cool, but I'll defer to logic rather than optimistic dreams of extreme site enthusiasm. Remember that as more people join, more will WANT to join – so if you're visiting but haven't joined, this is your nudge, and remember - it's free!

Start taking advantage of all the features on MySaline.com. Your profile is just the beginning of the many things you can do to interact with people. Take a look at the other member profiles. See what you have in common with people. Post videos or photos to show where you've been and who you are. Maybe you have some special photos in Saline County. Maybe you have some information about Saline County you'd like to share. Talk about it in the forum! Blab away and get responses of what people think about an issue. You can do more than just type in the forums, you can add links, photos, videos and widgets to your text. Sell something! Ask how to do something! Discuss events and news! Type out your recipe book! Borrow extra exclamation points when you run out! Another great tool is the Groups. There are some already made up for you to join, but you can make your own if you have a certain interest. Pretty soon, you'll find people joining your group, and then you'll know you have something in common to talk about – or show video or photos of! Take it to the next level, baby!

The last thing I want to do is thank everyone for making this an auspicious start. (Auspicious rhymes with delicious and makes me hungry for something with cinnamon in it.) Hats off to the early adopters! The frontier riders! The – oh alright, I'll get on with it. It seems at only 17 members, it is already a diverse group. I'll bet you know a few others who could appreciate MySaline.com. Shoot 'em an email, forward this letter, or send them a link to something you've posted here. Let them know about this great tool for bringing Saliners together. Who knows – you might find an old friend here, or new one that becomes lifelong. You might find someone who changes your life. You might even find (gasp!) a great casserole recipe!

Very nearly sincerely,