Just Wright Citrus had its inaugural annual meeting/Christmas party the other night and a good time was had by all (me and Deb).
It wasn't all eggnog and ugly sweaters though. I had a printed agenda and fellas, if you want to surprise your wife at a romantic holiday dinner, bring a printed agenda.
"What do you mean, 'annual meeting?'" she asked oh so sweetly.
I've been up front with readers about the various happenings at Just Wright Citrus, so let me share the agenda discussion.
Yes and yes. Our goals were somewhat vague and all over the board. A blog of this sort has never been attempted before in Citrus County. I wasn't sure what to expect.
I know we wanted polite conversation and community focus. We did that. The conversation is spirited, informed and varied. And the numbers of participants continues to grow.
Without getting into too much detail, that's a slight yes. I set the financial goals low and realistic, and I met them. Business sponsors support me with their ads each month. Simply, I couldn't do this without them. Some of these folks I've known for decades. Others I just met when they wanted to help.
Bottom line: I finished the year eating Beefaroni Supreme and not SpaghettiOs Light.
That depends on who’s answering the question. I'm sure certain politicians and Library Guy would think not.
I'm biased, but I think we had a hugely positive impact on the community. We kept the topics specific, on point and relevant. I know some of those blog topics were dull — never a good deal when I'm nodding off while writing — but most led to a broader topic.
I knew going in I'd be facing brand new ethical challenges. As a newspaper reporter, the rules of conduct are pretty clear. As first-time publisher of a blog where I'm the only writer, every day was something new.
Some things I learned the hard way. I figured candidate advertising was safe until I had a few and realized how that looks to their political opponents. While this is an opinion blog and the traditional rules of conduct don't apply, I still want to be fair. So, no more campaign ads.
Ethics is a work in progress. Just know that it's of the highest importance to me.
Yes! Other than the business part, what freaked me out the most was getting the website and Facebook page going. I know nothing about technology and even that is an exaggeration.
That's when Joshua Brunk and Noah Breder crossed my path. The then-Lecanto High School seniors created a website that's easy for a dummy like me. It is super easy and, yeah, it's plain. I experimented with expanding the site to pages other than the blog and found zero interest. Turns out all you want is the writing and an occasional video.
Facebook is also working well. We've topped 3,300 followers, which the people who know such things tell me is impressive and unheard of in one year without boosting. You did that by sharing posts with your friends, then engaging in the conversation.
Don't expect any major changes to either the website or FB. We all seem pretty comfortable.
Well, we have some ideas. I'll keep those under my Santa hat for now, but the cool thing is there is a Year 2.
My business was wildly successful our first year. Readers were engaged, politicians placed in the spotlight, and we successfully stood up to a mountain of negativity coming from an odd new segment of our community. Just Wright Citrus was in the middle of all that, which means you were in the middle as well. I'm a conversation starter, that's all. You provide the conversation.
From the bottom of our hearts at Just Wright Citrus World Headquarters on the shores of Big Lake Henderson, thank you. On to 2023.
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Mike Wright has written about Citrus County government and politics for 36 years.