There is so much to glean from Joseph Newfield's site 'be neighborly'.
Drawing on his advertising background, and love of architecture, Joseph makes three key points related to "websites that work", all of which are relevant to dare to dream.
1) Be a part of something
The success of buildings, and websites, depends on how well they enable people to do things. In both instances, this is a function of how connected they are to other buildings, systems or sites; how integrated they are into the fabric of the community.
More specifically, my thanks to Melanie Mauer and Jaime Young, for their reaching out to me this past week. When you visit their sites, observe how Melanie tells stories through her photography, Jaime through digital scrapbooking.
2) Tell stories
Stories matter because that's how we experience life: not as discrete tasks but as experiences, moments that add up to a larger whole. Yet many websites offer a litany of tasks and tools without any context, without any seeming contemplation of the arc of their audience's story.
Shutterfly was, until recently, a great example of [what not to do]. Personal photography is a means of self-expression, and if we do it well many of us would like recognition. Yet visitors to Shutterfly [were] greeted with products and seasonal specials. It [was] as passive as a piece of direct mail, barely participating in customer's lives.
3. Don't just sit there looking pretty.
For years I've perused books, magazines, and websites devoted to all types of design, architecture, photography and found myself unsettled by the beautiful work being celebrated there, work that is is neither relevant nor moving.
[In contrast], craigslist is merely words with the occasional picture, but it's one of the most engaging websites ever. One visits again and again, for many different reasons, and is part of a new story every time.
Do you remember what my daughter seemed to be saying some months back when she refused to wear what I wanted her to wear? It's not about looking pretty and being pampered, it's about being, daring and dreaming...
What websites and blogs do you visit regularly? Who visits yours? Do you say hello, especially to those that visit you?
If you were a building or website, how would you describe your surrounding community? How integrated are you into its fabric?
Which sites/blogs help you tell your story?