New Milnor website offers go-to spot for hometown news
MILNOR, N.D. - Some time back, there was a golf tournament here.
Few people showed up, and that got Wyatt Mund thinking: What would be a good way to spread the word about the goings on in small towns like his hometown of Milnor, population about 700?
The answer Mund came up with was Townnected.com .
The North Dakota State University freshman majoring in marketing and advertising said it took him about a year to create the website using skills he taught himself by going online for information.
“It was very difficult at times, but you can learn a lot of things off the Internet,” said Mund, who launched Townnected.com in November.
While Milnor was the inspiration for the website, Mund said any community can use it.
“It’s absolutely free and once you make your account, it puts you in the town you want,” Mund said, adding that a user can only post items in the town they are associated with, but people can view information about any community they wish.
He said about 300 people have signed onto Townnected.com. Roughly 125 of those users are residents of Milnor.
“My town’s been using it pretty frequently now; that’s kind of nice to see,” said Mund, who has entered his website in the annual Innovation Challenge sponsored by the NDSU Office of Provost and the NDSU Research and Technology Park.
Mund said the competition carries a $5,000 prize.
“We’re actually in the semifinal round,” Mund said. His brother, Landon Mund, and a friend, Andrew Martinson, both from Milnor, have helped him with his project.
Wyatt Mund loaded Townnected.com with several features, including:
- Town news feed: lets people post their town’s happenings in several categories.
- Town photos: a place where residents can share images.
- Town calendar: where residents can look for events such as golf tournaments.
- Town ratings: where visitors can share their impressions of communities.
Carol Peterson, economic development coordinator for Milnor, uses Townnect.com. “Actually, I was on Townnect this morning,” Peterson recently said.
“It’s a wonderful opportunity for towns to get news out quick to people, whether it’s something school-related or community-related,” she said.
The city of Milnor has a Facebook page. Peterson said she posted information about Townnect.com there to give people an additional communication tool.
Peterson said the city’s Facebook page came in handy recently when the city experienced problems with its water system and had to shut temporarily shut it down.
“The best way to get information out to people so they knew it was being fixed was Facebook,” Peterson said.
Mund hopes his website will provide similar benefits. If issues arise, he installed a feature that allows communities to delete inaccurate postings or other information
not up to town standards, he said.
“If five people trash the post, it will be deleted,” Mund said.
So far, the site hasn’t been a moneymaker for Mund, but he said that may come later if it gains a large enough following and advertisers take notice.