Years ago, I hoped to make a small difference on the island, so began to write something a little like this blog. I worried about a local environmental issue and the only way to get anyone to listen appeared to be by publishing information in an online forum. The blog existed quite a while before Facebook (Feb. 2004) and before most of us thought about social media. Back then, social media was pretty primitive or amounted to forums, something I also managed for a while in the late 80’s, with a bulletin board or BBS. My first domain name, www.amelia-island.net, I still have. Don’t laugh, but at the time, almost every variation of Amelia Island was available, including those without the “-“. Years later, I guess it matters less and the traffic is more about content than an actual
domain name. The palm and small island, by the way, was hand drawn one afternoon; eventually resized to be a logo for the original version of Amelia Island Net.
The environmental issue had to do with a reclaiming and disturbing an area with potential for material from an old dump disrupting the environment. Actually, I still disagree with the way it was reclaimed. Sold as a restoration, it actually destroyed quite a bit of land to change an established environment from fresh to saltwater based. The plants and animals living in the area for more than 50 years were displaced, but the actions were portrayed as entirely positive. Land was rezoned to recreational bordering the property and other landowners were told their land should be deeded over to the project. I don’t want to move too far from the subject, but the way the messaging made it to the papers and the way this was “sold”, convinced me to look for ways to produce my version of the world and what I think amounts to the truth. I still see incredibly slanted stories every day and am more convinced than ever. We need to pick the news to consume and make a point of sharing our views. I never want to passively consume questionable facts.
I market myself and real estate for a living. Being able to reach people, without paying a fortune to be given nearly worthless advertising space is part of the reason I write blogs. Over a period of years, my idea of blogging or publishing changed. At one point, I only posted information on the island and thought adding a simple contact point for the commercial side would work. As “Buy Local” and green living became an accepted idea, I started to promote local business and about that time, started an online group to encourage this called “Amelia Island Net”. The group, in a way, led to time in politics, but I’m now on a second and, I think, improved version. This image is one of the original images and you can see my focus was “LOCAL” from the beginning. I also cared about the idea of restoring the US Post Office on Center Street, anticipating an opportunity to acquire the building at a low-cost, possibly move local government to the building and protect a local landmark. I still think some of the same things and recognize the ways an idea can die. It is far easier to kill ideas and take credit for saving us from a manufactured crisis, than it is to follow through with a plan. We’re seeing the same things happen with long-term plans along the water, the marina, the airport and Alachua Street.
The recent changes to the blog are the beginning of another reinvention. I had two blogs, separating everything related to my business or personal life and the general posts related to the island. Blogs don’t see traffic in this way. Few people pick up a single web address to visit daily and thinking this is a mistake. Traffic does flow from social media connection and based on the subject matter in the blog. I could pay for traffic to specific posts or change my approach, consolidating efforts to a single location.
So….you’re seeing a part of an effort to influence, whether I’m hoping for something better here on the island or a property I’m developing or sharing something I love about the island. As one of the vanishing native residents, I enjoy seeing the changes, but also hope the time living here added a little wisdom and something worth sharing.