When we said earlier this week that the changes to our website bayofplentytimes.co.nz are all about you, we weren't exaggerating. The whole idea behind the re-launch of the paper's website is to involve you, engage you and to make sure that we publish the things that are important to you.
Websites are great and I love that I can find practically everything I want online.
But websites are even better when they are not flat. I'm not a fan of one-way traffic. Feedback, comments and content sent in to us from all over the Bay will make this new site so much better and more interesting.
One of the new features launched recently is the weekly image poll, where you can vote on your favourite photo. We have started off with two galleries full of photos taken by our own photographers, but the request for people to send in their own snaps has really taken off.
This is why tomorrow, we will set up a gallery and image poll with readers' photos.
If you haven't done so already, look up the new and improved bayofplentytimes.co.nz and take a few minutes to explore the section we have named Your Community.
One of the features in this section that I'm most interested in monitoring is the Noticeboard.
It's a page where you can report all the things that are important to you and others.
For example, you can tell others if you have spotted graffiti and vandalism, traffic hazards, or damaged roads and footpaths.
It's also a place where community groups and clubs can connect, free stuff can be listed, or a car-pooling buddy can be found. The best thing is that this comes at no cost to you, the user.
All you need to do is register and login, which is a quick, easy and painless process.
Your Community is the place where you can do things that matter to the community, like list an event or a fundraiser. It's an area where readers can connect with others.
Right now, it is still pretty empty but I'm expecting it to fill up with all sorts of information very soon.
I can't think of another website that offers all this, along with a range of local news, and I have a feeling the new bayofplentytimes.co.nz will really take off. The main reason is that it is, indeed, all about you!
With your help, this site can become the online hub of the community. It's a place where you will find all things local, and you can share your story, opinions and photos with the community.
Feel free to be one of the first people to give it a go and let us know what you think.
Another idea I am toying with at the moment is to start a blog-type feature on the site which will highlight all the things we love about living here in the Bay.
I have been collecting photos, videos and information about all things weird and wonderful that can be found right here in the Western Bay of Plenty. But it'd be a little boring to do all this alone, so feel free to help me out. Credit will be given where credit belongs.
Do you have photos or video footage you'd like to share with a huge audience of locals? Feel free to send it in.
Think a great game of cricket in the park or at the beach on a sunny day, a fun run through town, you and your friends all dressed up to go to the Tauranga races, photos of your favourite fishing or camping spot, or footage of you or your mates kite-surfing.
Anything will be considered as long as it's positive, community minded, out of the ordinary, preferably humorous, local and not for commercial gain. I intend to launch it in a few weeks', but that will depend on the response.
So I'll sign off hoping that all this got you thinking, and that you'll be inspired to go out on the next fine day and shoot some cracker photos or video footage for us to share online.
The weather forecast, and my own ever-optimistic outlook, tells me it's looking good.