Program Gives Nebraska Communities a Look at Their Online Presence
There’s an old saying that you don’t know your own backyard. Referring to tourist attractions, the adage conveys a common belief that New Yorkers never go to Times Square, and Arizonans never visit the Grand Canyon. Whether that’s true or not, hometowns often feel so familiar that residents don’t consider what impressions they give to outsiders. First Impressions Online, Rural Prosperity Nebraska’s newest community development program, gives people a view of their own backyard.
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[00:00:01.839]There’s an old saying that you
don’t know your own backyard.
[00:00:05.214]Referring to tourist attractions,
the adage conveys a common belief
[00:00:08.434]that New Yorkers never go to Times Square,
and Arizonans never visit the Grand Canyon.
[00:00:14.284]Whether that’s true or not,
hometowns often feel so familiar
[00:00:17.162]that residents don’t consider
what impressions they give to outsiders.
[00:00:20.712]First Impressions Online,
Rural Prosperity Nebraska’s
[00:00:24.302]newest community development program,
gives people a view of their own backyard.
[00:00:29.677]“Looking at your community”
means searching for a community
[00:00:33.300]online and seeing
what comes up.
[00:00:35.320]What restaurants are there?
[00:00:37.980]Gas stations? Hotels?
Are phone numbers listed? Hours?
[00:00:41.560]Are social media sites up to date?
Or is information missing?
[00:00:45.750]The survey is conducted both using
a smart phone and computer,
[00:00:49.254]as search engine algorithms change
depending on search history and location.
[00:00:54.871]Inspiration for the program came
during the COVID-19 pandemic,
[00:00:58.351]when extension educators couldn’t
visit communities physically.
[00:01:01.861]As the program’s creator,
Rural Prosperity Nebraska
[00:01:04.631]Extension Educator Jason Tuller
began Googling Nebraska towns,
[00:01:08.631]he noticed his searches didn’t show many of
the unique amenities he knew existed there,
[00:01:13.249]such as mom-and-pop diners or
a novelty toy museums.
[00:01:17.429]First Impressions Online aims to help
communities match their online presence
[00:01:21.487]with their physical presence,
namely for those searching their town -
[00:01:25.487]new and potential residents,
[00:01:29.729]However, establishing a strong online
presence isn’t just about getting hits.
[00:01:33.939]It’s about portraying Nebraska
communities in an accurate way
[00:01:36.849]that showcases their unique qualities -
proving that while the state
[00:01:40.519]may not be for everyone, there is at
least something for everyone here.
[00:01:44.219]First Impressions Online
is the first step in doing that.
[00:01:48.488]After reviewing the
First Impressions Online report,
[00:01:51.086]communities can participate in
two additional programs.
First Impressions program
[00:01:56.710]matches two similarly
sized communities, and
[00:01:59.515]they work with a facilitator to
maximize existing tourism assets.
[00:02:03.737]The Professional program brings
in a team of experts in marketing,
[00:02:07.307]food and beverage, tourism,
event planning and community
[00:02:10.607]development to identify communities’
existing strengths, opportunities for
[00:02:14.607]improvement and possible future
initiatives regarding tourism.
[00:02:18.427]But it all starts with
that first look online.
[00:02:21.817]For more information on the
First Impressions programs,
[00:02:28.907]call the Garfield-Loup-Wheeler Extension
Office and ask for Jordan.
[00:02:32.907]For Nebraska Extension,
this is Jordan Rasmussen.
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