New Local Social Networking Site for Those Who Love Ludington: Ludington on the Lake

I was researching some material just yesterday, when I found an interesting find.  A Ludington social networking site that wasn't my own, nor was it a rebirth of any of the other Ning sites that were once common to this area (like Ludington Talks, Manistee Talks, and Lakeshore Soup).

The effort started earlier this year, and is called "Ludington on the Lake", and subtitled "A Social Networking site for those who Love the Ludington Area":  As one who loves the Ludington area myself, and am always interested in helping other webtrepreneurs, I decided to look into it deeper.

The main page is impressive, the features it offers are rivaling those that we offer here at the Ludington Torch, and a look at the bottom shows it is not Ning, but Boonex based, a platform type I have never heard of before.  The members featured may be familiar to those who live around Ludington, you have the wife of our probate judge, our retiring library director, and a local photographer, to name just a few that you can see on the main page.  Thirty-eight members in all using their Christian names, one would think.

A recent ruling at the Mason County Press disallowed anyone to post on their site or anyone anonymous or using a pseudonym to post on their Facebook-page .  I think that is unfortunate, because it can limit the discussion dramatically and the amount of people involved in the discussion.  People who post under pseudonyms can have a variety of reasons for doing so, and media that do not understand that concept, should not label them all as trouble-makers.  "Ludington on the Lake" doesn't appear to have that policy stated explicitly but if you love Ludington, why would you need to mask your identity?

Reviewing the membership and the posts in their blogs and forums is revealing.  The last member of the 38 joined 131 days ago, the previous one joined 175 days ago.  Most seemed to have joined in the first month, and beyond putting a picture on their avatar, basically have done nothing since.  The posts are even older; nothing has been posted since February 16, the last picture (of the old Ludington City Hall) was posted on February 22.  That's a half of a year ago today.

Why did the site never catch on?  Their terms of service aren't repressive.  Their medium seems to be working fine enough.  Could their decline be summed up by the attitude of what I would take to be their administrator, the Ludington Daily News' Dave Peterson in one of the few posts

I am thinking that he refer to the "Ludington Torch" here as that "other" social network, and seems to intimate that "Ludington on the Lake" offers more free services than us.  But I don't think that would be the case, we offer quite a bit here, all free to the humble internet traveler without the annoyance of advertisers.  And we offer you more freedoms than I think would be possible, for a network that may give you the boot if you make a post that's interpreted as one that shows you do not 'love Ludington'.

For most every one of us here have criticized Ludington public policy or public servants here at the Ludington Torch, but there is seldom a time (I can't recall any offhand) when our most prolific posters will ever say a bad word about our area, its traditions, and its common folks.  Our love of Ludington shines through when we question things and discuss why things may be bad for our area.  Our love of Ludington dominates our concerns about the actions of our top officials, and the divergence of opinions expressed by our divergent viewpoints.

Homogeneity and acceptance of the status quo without question, I would argue, speaks of indifference and inaction, and is not 'love' in its common usage.  Is it any wonder that the main vote-getter for the recent "Love Ludington" mini-grants (even though they restricted the ideas dramatically)was for getting the water fountain in Ludington Park working again? 

The people want the infrastructure fixed, but the City once again feels they should spend hundreds of thousands on other downtown projects benefitting select people.  These people who voted this way still love Ludington, but they obviously differ with our public officials who have ignored this for years over where to spend their time and tax dollars, as can be seen in the above story by the reaction of City Manager John Shay.

Shay is petitioning the State to significantly alter the west end of Ludington Avenue at a cost that would likely eclipse $3 million (likely to be funded mainly by local taxpayers), but getting this park's fountain operational once again, which could cost less than a thousandth of that, is something he has to think about fiscally.  Before 2003, John Shay probably never even heard of Ludington while many of us here on the Ludington Torch, had been in a love affair with Ludington and this fountain for a very long time.  If you love someone or something, you don't try to change their general character. 


That goes for a City too, and I'd like to think that Ludington has a history of being led by moral people looking out for the public's interest and listening to them, until our recent history.  Nobody has a monopoly on love, but one should be honest, even if it's brutally honest, with those they love.

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It appears to be a nicely put together site. My guess is that the LDN is behind it so there won't be much controversy in any topics that may be posted. I don't want to sound to negative but I hate the logo "Ludington on the Lake", only because it is so mundane, boring, unimaginative and so lacking in creativity. This was the logo the City came up with. How does that name set Ludington apart from the other hundreds of towns on the "lake". It's like fingernails on a chalk board for me. The City should come up with an inspiring and interesting logo that will set Ludington apart from the crowd and show what a great area Ludington is.

It appears to be an uninspiring and disinteresting name for a social network too, judging by their lack of activity.  The citi-marketers have been gravitating more to the equally creative "Pure Ludington" brand lately, and the "Love Ludington motif. 

I'm partial to "Ludington:  ICUP" with a picture of a surveillance camera pointed at a man at a urinal or sitting on the toilet.  Definitely gets your attention, LOL. 

That's funny X.

History: that city park fountain was created and built by a Ludington mayor from the late 1930's. He wanted imagination and culture added to the park, where locals would make wishes, and donate coins into the fountain for good luck. That same mayor also added drinking fountains on every corner in the 3 block downtown area for taking in the clean cool water of our area, quenching the thirst of shoppers patronizing the local merchants. Old ideas that still merit some worthy praise. Sadly, those type of ideas don't fly today with the current leadership styles from across state.

They're both excellent ideas in my opinion, and perfect complements to a lakeside city.  Fountains wouldn't be a bad idea to consider for the North James Plaza area or at the end of the West Ludington Avenue to make the places extra interesting at a low cost. 

As for the drinking fountains, we have took those out and now have dog bowls for the extremely thirsty. 


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