Introducing http://walthamstow.me

I’ve been living in Walthamstow, London since 2013.

At local events, I’m often struck by people saying how hard it is to discover local groups, businesses, resources, and generally meet like-minded people. Not just those who’ve recently moved to the area, but also those who’ve been here years; sometimes life-long residents running their own businesses, and yet still stumbling across things in an ad hoc way.

This set me thinking on how to scratch this itch… some sort of simple springboard community website that works with all the exiting ones people don’t know about — maybe a single page, with signposts for people, or a set of “hot topics”. Yeah, that could be useful.

So a few weeks ago created http://walthamstow.me/ — then life got in the way and it’s been in the back of my metaphorical garden shed ever since.
Until now — first a soft launch in Walthamstow Life, then this public announcement!

Obviously, there’s a lot that can be done with this… but first, I’d like to test it out and get feedback.

There’s also two parts to this post: first, what Walthamstow Me is, and second, the techie stuff — how it works.

There are of course many ways to set something up online; Wordpress, Wikimedia, and Medium are some obvious options; there’s also rolling your own with a CMS like Wix or Drupal.

I use Agile and Lean quite a lot — a fan of Personal Kanban since 2011, for example — so, wanted to set up an Minimum Viable Product (MVP), to test the idea as early and as easily as possible. (Not much point wrestling with Drupal for days if your idea’s rubbish and it goes nowhere.)

So , my MVP is a publically-editable Google Doc, embedded and published via https://gdoc.pub , that’s in turn hosted on GitHub Pages. Which has worked surprisingly well, to be honest — it makes collaborative editing easy, and helps prevent vandalism.

I’m working on open sourcing the “embed into GitHub Pages” soon.

I’m also interested in how discoverable the page content is, given it’s an embedded gDoc — I’ll be doing some SEO experiments there to catch up on the modern web crawling techniques.

And, I’m also thinking of Walthamstow Me along the lines of a social enterprise, and am making a Social Lean Canvas for it — though I admit this is largely for experience in writing one.

But for now, I’m interested in any feedback, or traction, and seeing where this takes us — especially if you’re in the Walthamstow area!

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