We thought you might like to know a little bit about the current status and mindset of Sykesville Online. So here you go.
What is our purpose?
Well, we’re not sure. You might say we’re in a state of transition, as we figure out what we can make of this thing.
Ideally, our goal would be to become the number one source of interesting, important, and amusing stories focused on the present, past, and future of the Freedom area in Carroll County, MD. Frankly there’s not much competition, and we can probably do it. The Carroll County Times does a fine job of covering the county at large, but because it’s a small paper, and perhaps a bit understaffed and struggling, like all newspapers in the Internet age, we think there’s a gap we can help fill.
We can’t possibly compete with the Carroll County Times and have no intention of doing so. In fact we’d like to help them by bringing attention to their stories, driving people to their website, and providing the sort of detailed information about our area that they can’t possibly hope to provide alone.
We’d also like to help bring our community together, to help create an atmosphere of respect, patience, and friendship, to make people laugh, help people learn, help people find their lost dogs and cats and hamsters, introduce their new businesses, or old ones, and let our audience know what’s happening, what happened, and what might happen soon. Lots of people have lots of opinions. We would like to help them base those opinions on facts and perhaps provide a bit of perspective to go along with the facts.
So if you have a question about something you see, a lot being bulldozed in Eldersburg, a man on stilts walking down Main Street, the sudden strange appearance of a tin rooster or turkey or chicken, or whatever, in the backyard of Becks where people drink beer, ask us what’s going on, and we’ll try to find out.
It comes down to a question of resources and commitment. Are we committed enough to make it happen and can we generate the kind of money that will make it worth our while? Can we generate any money at all? And if we can’t, what then? This remains to be seen.
Who is our audience?
Our audience is a family of geese swimming over at Warfield. No, actually, we have very few geese in our audience. Anyone, including Canadian geese, is welcome to join our audience, as we hope some of our stories will have wide appeal, but mostly we’re focused on informing humans in the Freedom Area in Carroll County, which is to say Sykesville and Eldersburg and thereabouts. Needless to say anything that affects Carroll County affects us here in the 21784 zip code, so we’ll keep an eye on the county at large and occasionally comment on its strange, contentious, often sad, and sometimes amusing politics. And perhaps we’ll keep an eye on Howard County, too, or at least its nearby environs.
If you live here, live nearby, or might want to visit here or move here, or just want to learn about the area, you are welcome to join our audience.
Who are we?
Sykesville Online has been around since 2009, although up until 2015, we were a sporadically active strictly volunteer effort and never made any attempt to make money off our stories or our services. Originally we had the grandiose notion that we might become an actual full-scale newspaper like the Sykesville Herald that served the area from the beginning of the 20th century all the way up into the 1980s, but that proved impractical and overly ambitious. There were, after all, only two of us and we lacked several of the key ingredients required to build something as big as a newspaper like the Herald, the main one being money.
During that time, we did some nice things. We began building an online community that did not exist before. We provided a forum for discussion during Sykesville’s last mayoral and city council election, we did detailed stories on the recent past, such as the battle over the future of Piney Run Lake, and the distant past. We brought to life important figures from Sykesville’s history, such as Wade Warfield and George Patterson, and we conveyed the comical adventures of the infamous mullet man and the loose goat who terrorized Eldersburg. We provided a combination of the serious and the silly, but never enough of it.
There have always been just two of us, with the occasional contributions from talented local writers, such as Bob Allen and Barb Fogg, but soon, we hope, although we do not promise, to expand that.
And who are the two?
Andrea White – Editor and Creative Director
Andrea handles most of the technical and creative work and runs day-to-day operations. Although she majored in Professional Writing at the University of Baltimore and worked professionally as a copy editor in a fancy office with a view out the window to Camden Yards, after graduating from college, she soon learned that she had a natural talent for creating attractive web sites.
Since way back in the nineties, Andrea has designed and built dozens of websites both as a freelancer and as a lead designer for a successful pioneering Internet company. Even now, with her small company, Sykesville Design, she’s working on local websites, such as Oscar’s Ale House in Eldersburg and Cowboys and Angels in Sykesville, with hopefully more to come.
She’s a graphic artist, a very good copy editor, and an Internet software expert who has become adept with WordPress, the magical software behind Sykesville Online’s operation and most of the other websites that we design and build.
Jack White – Writer and Publisher
Jack also has a long history with the Internet, and it was his idea to build Sykesville Online. For the past 20 years, or more, he’s worked in technical communications for various high-tech companies and served as the website manager for several sites in the Washington DC area.
He recently designed a web-based customer service site for the United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission, where he worked until taking a job as the Publications Manager for GSE Systems in Eldersburg in 2014.
Jack does most of the writing and takes care of most content production, including creating new stories of his own and editing stories contributed by others.
Jack majored in the creative writing program at Penn State and later, while in the army, earned his Master’s Degree in Computer Information Systems from Boston University.
In 1995, he won the Grand Prize in the Writers’s Digest National Self Publishing awards for his novel The Keeper of the Ferris Wheel, and was featured in the Washington Post, the Baltimore Sun, Writers Digest and Writers Market. Most recently he wrote In Carrie’s Footprints, The Long Walk of Warren Dorsey, an inspiring non-fiction historical biography that takes place largely in the Sykesville area and provides a great deal of previously unknown local history.
About the Facebook Group that Shares Our Name
In an effort to reduce confusion, at least a bit, we want to mention that we are not currently affiliated with the Facebook group called Sykesville Online Community Group or The Original Sykesville Online Community Group or any other offshoots of that group already in existence, or yet to evolve, using some variation of that name.
Although we started the Sykesville Online Community Group to encourage polite discussion between community members on local issues, we are no longer involved. The goal proved challenging, things became contentious, and we passed the group along to others. Since Facebook’s rules would not allow a name change due to the size of the group, the name stayed with the group. Facebook would have let us take the group down completely, but we let it go instead, and it is now under new administration. Hopefully it will send some friendly readers our way, and we wish it well.
We do, however, have our own Facebook page. It’s at https://www.facebook.com/SykesvilleOnline, has over 2000 followers, and will serve to provide short news bits and information, and supplement our website.
Sykesville Online will never share with anyone your email address, your confidential business information, or any other information provided to us through this site. The exception to this would be if you publish an article or a letter on our site. In that case, we will, at a minimum, provide your name, although we won’t publish your email address, if you don’t want us to. We will, however, leave your writing open to comment.
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