Update: The Downtown Lowell Blog is already on my blogroll on the right, but this post of an email from COOL, has a great list of upcoming events.
I almost totally missed Winterfest this year (not as if I would've gone anyhow. Nothing personal.). The huge sign that announces the date is up in front of City Hall, and my commute stops at Market St. I've also been reading The Sun less often the last few months, although I do maintain a subscription. I catch most of the big stories online, and I'm lucky if I leaf through the print version once or twice a week. So...I've noticed I've been having trouble finding important information about local happenings this year. And it's not through a lack of places to find information. It's through the lack of one central location.
I noticed that lowellma.gov didn't have any information about Winterfest on it this year although I do think I found it on lowell.org. It was not on lowellevents.info. The same thing is happening right now. Turns out it's Great Plates 2010, which is an event I really like attending. Not a single mention anywhere. I understand the budget is tight this year, but those banners on the Lord Overpass are really effective, and a huge number of residents pass underneath there every day. Once I had finally heard it's happening, I did find it on http://www.greaterlowellchamber.org/. It's not on lowell.org, or lowellma.gov, or lowellevents.info. Nor is it on www.merrimackvalley.org. You know how I finally heard about it? Facebook, through friends joining it. http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=266070406569&ref=ts. Not even the Chamber of Commerce site has the menus. Just Facebook.
Conversely, the fact that the city is running a good discount program on food/retail bought downtown called iShop Lowell is only mentioned on lowell.org and lowellma.gov.
There needs to be a place where all of this information is centralized! Obviously, this problem goes way beyond finding out when good dinners are at lower prices in Downtown Lowell. This is exactly the same complaints about Google Buzz that popped up recently. Facebook is a natural monopoly. Adding Buzz to the list of things you need to constantly be updating and checking will help nothing. However, when it comes to advertising, Facebook, while it has a huge pool of regular users, is probably still not the most efficient way to go.