Way Back When (4): Time Flies
Smoke Gets in Your Eyes
Fast forward to September, 2014. The King Fire broke out and choked northern Nevada in wildfire smoke again. Year over year, two major incidents really hammered home the need for the service the platform was providing. Once again, Washoe Air received press attention and exposure (it’s a theme that continues to repeat whenever there’s a major air quality event, not that I’m complaining). Along with attention came app downloads and Twitter follows (again, no complaints here).
The other locations covered by Twitter accounts started slowly growing as well, though not to the same degree. Some regions seemed to be more acclimated to bad air than northern Nevada.
Kudos Where Due
This may be a good time to talk a little about the folks at the Washoe County Air Quality Management Division. Despite the fact that this platform could be seen in any number of negative ways by their staff, “courteous and helpful” were the rule. I got to tour one of the monitoring stations. As a layperson, they helped me understand better what they do, how they go about it, and even some ways the platform and WCAQMD were complementary. While we’ve never formally or officially worked together, it’s always been a joint effort to inform and educate the public.
In the spirit of completeness, it’s also important to note that in the (almost, as of this writing) five years since launch, the WCAQMD has greatly expanded its outreach, moving into a variety of social media, giving timely updates and establishing programs that reach the populace outside of “traditional media”. There is nothing but good things to say about them and their dedication.
So What About That Expansion?
The thing about Washoe Air is that once it was good enough, there was little reason to prioritize change. “If it’s working, don’t break it,” right? Available time also interferes. Remember the comments about advertising from earlier in the history? Well, let’s just say that it’s a good thing this is also seen as an important public service. Full-time effort could not be dedicated and as long as the platform worked well and didn’t give false information, well, the rebrand (read: rewrite) could wait, but not forever.