Qirqle is a Web portal for the Pioneer Valley of Western Massachusetts and Southern Vermont designed to use the Web to enhance our community rather than distract away from it.
For visitors, it provides comprehensive listings of area events, places, businesses and organizations along with access to the creative output of residents (blogs, art, discussions, etc).
For residents, it facilitates connections and communication between residents, creators, organizations, businesses and groups.
For local businesses, Qirqle offers an easy way to engage with your customers and clients as well as to interact with other business owners – get ideas, get support, get organized.
For local organizations, Qirqle connects you with the people you serve as well as other organizations and services for collaboration, support and outreach.
Membership is limited to people, businesses and organizations who have a presence in the Valley for security and to “keep it local.” Members can:
- View, post and review events, favorite places, classifieds, job listings, images, documents, favorites, and forums (plus businesses and organizations can post their own listings).
- Chat (text, audio, video) with other individuals and groups (both on site and an app for iOS and Android) including send files, work on a shared document, share a whiteboard, share your screen, and send a voice note.
- Make friends, join and create groups, show off your creations, collaborate on projects, create an online component of whatever’s important in your life that you’d like to share.
Qirqle is your local online community.
Back in 1999, I read an interview with Tim Berners-Lee, the actual inventor of the World Wide Web (sorry, Al Gore) in which he talked about how he wished he had included some form of localization in the Web — so it’s difficult to find websites that are within your area. The idea struck me that a community website (at the time I called it a community guide) could offer something like that.
I also thought it might be a way to reverse the tendency of the Web to weaken local communities – to promote buying locally, interacting with your neighbors, and finding the “hidden gems” of your area, including people, businesses, organizations, places, etc.
So I set out to create an online guide system for the Pioneer Valley as a starting site, following what seemed to be the logical path at the time of seeking venture capital. At the time, the dotcom bubble was in full growth mode and VC firms were eager to get behind the Next Big Thing. I met with a big Boston venture capital firm who seemed very interested and to come back to them once I had my proof of concept up and running.
Unfortunately, the dotcom bubble burst shortly after that. I decided to take the software I was developing to manage online guide websites and convert it to manage any website, and Netcera Web Hosting (now Itabix) was born. I saw it as a way to both support local businesses to create and manage their web presence, and ultimately as a way to fund and develop my online guide concept which I kept coming back to and extending as Web technologies improved and expanded.
Fast forward to the spring of 2015 when I was invited to join a collaborative effort for economic growth and quality of life improvement in Hampshire County. Many issues brought up within the collaborative were directly addressed by my then-guide but now community portal concept and I stepped up to work with several other people on a project to create the portal for Hampshire County. The collaborative eventually fell apart and everyone drifted away, but I decided to keep working on it on my own.
What you are seeing here is the result of many years of careful thought and observation, and several years and a large investment of my and my company’s time and money. Qirqle is my gift to this area that I love, which has been my home since 1975.
If you are a member and have a question or problem related to Qirqle, please post it in the Qirqle forum or private message Qirqle.
If you are not a member and would like to get involved with Qirqle or you would like more information, you may contact us using the form below: