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I’ve been living and working on Clematis Street for the last six years. As many of you will no doubt remember, in 2005 Clematis was a very different street than Clematis today. The 400 block was empty, the library was still on the waterfront, now popular restaurants such as Rocco’s Tacos, Roxy’s, Don Ramons and Grease had yet to open. Instead of Roxy’s Rooftop, Off the Hookah and Dr. Feelgoods, the popular clubs were Bonds, Flow, Underground and Ray’s Downtown Blues. Clematis Street had a very different feel.
It isn’t only Clematis Street that has changed. The waterfront was still undeveloped, there were no docks, a storm-damaged condo still loomed above 1515 S. Flagler Drive, and Southern Boulevard was in the middle of a complete overhaul. One City Plaza had just been completed, and work had just started on Two City Plaza. The condos City Palm, The Whitney and Cityplace Towers were in the middle of construction.
Living in downtown West Palm Beach, I felt the unique “personality” that the city had and, as a long-time blogger and amateur photographer, I decided to start taking pictures to chronicle the changes in West Palm Beach. I created a blog to post these pictures, and slowly this turned into aGuyonClematis.
Using Twitter to communicate with others in West Palm Beach
Being interested in new technologies, I decided to try twitter which was at the time just gaining popularity. Twitter is a website which allows you to publish short messages “tweets” from your cellphone or computer.
I found several people using Twitter in West Palm Beach and started posting links to my pictures along with short updates on what was happening on Clematis Street.
As Twitter grew in popularity, so did the number of local people with whom I communicated. As of today I have over 1900 local Twitter followers and am ranked by WeFollow.com as the most influential twitter user in West Palm Beach (http://wefollow.com/city/west_palm_beach_fl).
Tweetups and the downtown Community
As I continued posting pictures and using twitter to communicate about downtown events and happenings, I found that people wanted to have a chance to meet up face-to-face. Businesses I spoke with were also interested in sponsoring local events and use the community to bring attention to their small local business.
With this need in mind we started our “Clematis Tweetup” series of events. Our tweetups are held on the 3rd Wednesday of each month in one of our fantastic local venues. The locations for our Tweetups go from Relish in Northwood Village through Clematis Street and Cityplace, all the way to Darbsters in the South End of West Palm Beach.
Usually anywhere from 25 to 50 people attend each tweetup and we have collaborated with the Palm Beach Opera, Palm Beach Post, Sunfest, the West Palm Beach CRA as well as many local businesses to put together these events.
This month we will celebrate our 18th consecutive monthly tweetup.
Winning Sun Sentinel’s award for Most Popular South Florida Blog
In the beginning of 2011 I was honored by winning a contest hosted by Sun Sentinel for the best blog in South Florida. This was a huge surprise to me, as the contestants included many very popular blogs from Miami and Ft. Lauderdale. While I’m very proud of this award for my blog, I believe it also speaks to the value and popularity of our downtown areas and the community that exists here in West Palm Beach.
This year, Ceci Dadisman launched aGalatCityplace.com which is a “sister-blog” and uses the same style of photo-blogging that I use to focus on businesses and events in Cityplace. I am currently working on getting a similar blog set up for the Dixie corridor, and am interested in working with other passionate individuals who want to use this model in other local areas.
The future of aGuyonClematis
One of the things that I have learned from my experience as aGuyonClematis, is that when you have the right tools, a little bit of effort can go a long way. I have spoken with many small local businesses and they have repeatedly told me that their biggest problem is getting the word out about their business and events.
While I will continue to use aGuyonClematis to bring attention to our downtown areas, I would also like to use what I have learned to teach small business how they can grow their business using some of the same tools that I have used. I have joined up with several like-minded individuals to start “Digital Palm Beach” a group which will be supporting the local digital community through providing events and training sessions for both individuals and businesses. Information at http://digitalpalmbeach.org
I truely believe that each person makes a difference. The more people we have talking about our beautiful city, the more people will be attracted to it, and as the old adage goes, a rising tide lifts all boats.
If you have any questions please feel free to contact me via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or twitter at @aguyonclematis.
Aaron “aGuyonClematis” Wormus
Fox Mercer posted this to my facebook page so I thought I’d share it here.
I’m coming to Palm Beach soon for my first ever show in town, and it’s free! I’m from Oxford, England, not sure if you knew that? I’ve never had an amazing FL crowd: let’s change that! I sing about peace, love & the environment, & I’m trying to bring meaning back to music, like John Lennon did. The live show is family friendly & will make you laugh. I perform for free, & sleep in my car, so your support is appreciated! Please come & bring friends!
Fri 25th Mar, starts at 7pm – WEST PALM BEACH
Starbucks, 226 Clematis St
Plus: Sat 26th 8pm FT LAUD. @ Stork’s Bakery & Cafe (3325 S University Dr, Davie, FL), Sun 27th 7pm MIAMI @ The Bookstore in the Grove (3399 Virginia St, Coconut Grove, FL), Talla-Naples-Key West-Orlando-Daytona-Jax, & more! Check my sites (below)! Also, know any cheap, local, delicious food for a hungry Englishman far from home?
Your friend – Fox Elipsus
With the Mayoral election just 30 days away I’d like to take a minute to reiterate my support for Jeri Muoio for Mayor of West Palm Beach.
Most of you, readers of aGuyonClematis.com, my fellow twitterers & facebook friends, are locals – people with families who live, work, and play in West Palm Beach. We enjoy the cuisine of local restaurants, we meet at the Green Market and enjoy the free concerts at Clematis by Night and Sunday at the Waterfront. Our parks that we spend so much time in are maintained by the city. The fate of our neighborhoods and local businesses are determined by the decisions which are made at City Hall and the actions of people who are appointed to their positions by the Mayor.
I do not usually like to get into politics, but the changes that a new Mayor will bring affect me and my community so intensely that I feel it is my responsibility to urge everyone I interact with to engage themselves in the upcoming elections and vote for a candidate who represents them.
My candidate is Jeri Muoio.
Over the last few years, our infrastructure has been improved and our city has been beautified. Now it’s time to focus on the people and small businesses who will ultimately bring long lasting prosperity to not just downtown, but the whole West Palm Beach area.
It is my firm belief that the person to move us forward needs to be someone who understands and connects directly with the people of West Palm Beach, someone who is not indebted to a single group and someone who is not encumbered with personal business relationships which inherently conflict with the responsibilities of a Mayor.
Jeri has a clear vision for the future of West Palm Beach, which has been demonstrated through the clear and substantive answers that she gave in the last four mayoral debates. Jeri looks forward. Jeri understands how the city of West Palm Beach runs and is fully focused on what we need to do to take this city from it’s infancy as a “big little city” to a robust and flourishing city in which we the people of West Palm Beach and our local businesses will thrive.
On March 8th, please join me in voting for Jeri Muoio.
Thank you for your time,
Aaron “aGuyonClematis” Wormus
Vendors on Twitter
If you want to be added to this list please dm @aguyonclematis with your info.
I got this emailed to me from the PBC Photo Walkers meetup group, which I’m a member of but whose meetings I have not yet had the opportunity to attend. There are so many great pictures of the fair. Take a look.
ROOSTER! (Greg Matthews)