On Friday I was playing around on Twitter, as I often do, and someone posted a link to this new site http://phile.com/learn_more. I checked it out and promptly forgot who posted it.. (sorry) remember I have multiple Twitter profiles and confuse easily. Anyway, I checked it out and was pretty blown away by what I found. I wasn’t blown away so much by the astounding beauty of the site although it is quite nice. What blew me away is that it is EXACTLY what I asked for just before Christmas.
During October and November of this year I took part in a series of community consultations hosted by the city of Chilliwack. The official website with all the information about that process is here. During the consultation I drove more than one attendee a little batty as I kept repeating that what we needed, as a starting point, was a thorough and community generated assess map. We needed to know what and where our health related assets and resources were and we needed an idea about what the good people of Chilliwack thought of them. I said, a few too many times perhaps, was that what we need is an online place that works like a wiki but better. It has to be easy to use, with no or really, really low barriers to posting. It has to have maps, links, and photo or video capacity and it has to include a rating and comment option. Seriously, that’s what I asked for. I think one guy “got it” but for the most part I was met with glazed over expressions. Uhm.. I’m kinda used to that.
One of the questions the awesome facilitators asked during the wrap up was – What are you willing to commit to, to keep this process going? I committed to creating an online space, which I did quite promply, cos she made us sign our pledges (smart woman that Vicki McLeod). I decided that a Ning site would be the easiest to set up and would encourage ongoing collaboration. The site is http://chilliwackhealthiercommunities.ning.com/ and now has a whopping 27 members, which is pretty good for Chilliwack.
Although Ning meets some of the needs there is not as yet a really good widget that allows for the creation of a wiki-like application as I had envisioned. But then, out of the blue, there was .Phile. How cool is that? So our little community driven Ning site has sister site http://chilliwack.phile.com/ now under construction.
I do have to give extra props to the developers of .Phile. I had only been registered on the site for about 12 hours when I received an email from them inviting feedback. They even provided the option of simply responding to the email to provide feedback or ask questions. I truly appreciate that time saver for me. I responded and got an email back from a real honest to goodness human within hours. I love that (So tired of canned email responses with ticket numbers. I know, I know, they are a necessary evil).
I can see all kinds of uses for .Phile, including uses in education, clubs, committees, non-profs… the list goes on and on. .Phile is in beta so still in development and has a way to go but it has promise and personally I love it… I have to, I asked for it 😉by