By Jim McCloskey
Almost from the day I decided to suspend publication of the printed version of WaterShapes, I had a vision of what was coming next.
Reaching all the way back to my earliest days with Pool & Spa News, I recall impassioned conversations about the pool industry’s perceived need to reach out to consumers. Although studies were done, committees formed and advertising campaigns plotted and executed, there was never any sense that the pool industry had the resources or ability to move the needle to any significant degree.
Companies with the wherewithal reached out directly with advertising campaigns in those distant days – and continue to do so today. But even now, I don’t think consumers understand they’re dealing with a multibillion-dollar industry rather than with networks of local builders, dealers and support services.
The time has come to change all that – and not just for the pool industry, but for every craft, product and service related to watershaping in all the forms we’ve defined it through the past 13 years. It is time, in other words, to put consumers front and center by building a new Web site called AquaticSpacesNetwork.
Think of it as WaterShapes on steroids.
Coming in 2012, this new site will be built on the foundation of all we accomplished in 13 years with WaterShapes: the emphasis on quality, on the value of professional education, on the thoughtful and detailed telling of watershaping stories in words and images. From the start, everything we did was consumer-friendly, and now we will reach out to millions of them with information and resources they can use to make the best decisions about their residential backyards, commercial properties and institutional campuses.
From my perspective, this is all so cool that I’m ready to burst. I feel like a kid again, learning new ways to communicate, build audiences and fulfill the mission of clear communication I’ve always pursued – but on a scale that so far exceeds anything I’ve ever attempted, I never would have dreamed it possible.
Watch this blog and WaterShapes EXTRA! for news of our progress. It’s all coming in 2012!
And please share your own thoughts on this concept: It’s being developed not just consumers, but also to help watershapers on all levels – so do let me know what you think as we move through our formative stages!