So, Tina suggested I try out Grazr as a feed aggregator that then can publish feeds itself. I signed up for the lowest paid level (which comes with a 30 day free trial). It has some nice features, although it still doesn't get me to the "one feed" concept, since it is missing email and SMS notification capabilities.
But I did some testing by building a "file" in Grazr and adding some feeds to it and turning it into a "stream" (a feed itself). It works. But while I was doing all of that I just got more and more depressed for a variety of reasons. Let's see if I can capture them all:
- There wasn't a single church or volunteer organization Web site in all of Jefferson City that is set up to support RSS/Atom. That's fine - I used Page2RSS for all the relevant pages I could find, but that's kinda kludgy if you ask me. I mean, it's nice that service exists, but...
- I found a few pages already set up that gathered together some volunteer information for multiple organizations. That was good. But for the most part all the pages I found were static and woefully out of date, whether it was for a volunteer organization, a church or whatever. That is not necessarily surprising.
- Church sites, supposedly consisting of the Body of Christ that is to then reach out and represent God's love for all humanity, were terrible about mentioning mission, especially mission here in the community, especially mission disengaged from "outreach". Out of the 30 sites I looked at one (1) church had specific pages talking about specific programs for helping the poor and needy in the community. There were a couple of others that mentioned mission in general ways or pointed to all the help they were doing elsewhere. But even those were in the minority. Again, not surprising, just depressing.
So, I think I am going to step back from the idea a bit and think about how to help in other ways. It is fine to want to be a clearinghouse for all sorts of exciting volunteer activities - if such things were happening. I think the organizations in this town in the middle of nowhere need a bit more fundamental help in getting their word out than that. I don't want to become volunteer Webmaster for 20 worthy organizations - it's frustrating enough being one for a single church. But I am thinking of still trying to set something up where it would be falling-off-a-log easy for all of these organizations to get their word out. Maybe volunteering to offer some basic classes in blogging would be a good start. Dunno.