By Burt Lum
Imagine you are new to Hawai'i. You get off the plane, get settled in your house or apartment and pick up your car from the dock.
You're ready to discover Hawai'i, and you ask yourself, "Now what?"
For many, picking up an O'ahu map book is not quite enough.
It would be great to pose the question you have about Hawai'i and get an answer . Interaction and dialogue do wonders to get a sense of place in a new environment.
No sooner than bringing it up at a recent lunch in the park, Ryan Ozawa starts up www.hawaiianswers.com.
Although the site is just ramping up, it has the potential to be a knowledge repository for general questions about the state. The site takes the form of a bulletin board where you post a question and receive answers from the broad community.
For now, that community might be Ryan. But it will grow.
Another lunch buddy and recent transplant from Omaha, Neb., said Interactive Mililani (members.boardhost.com/mililani) is helpful in getting questions answered amid the community dialogue that takes place there.
John Pescador, a community-minded local, started this bulletin board. As with Ryan's, its purpose is to provide people with a forum for discussion and a place to get questions answered. The site enjoys an active following as it is reachable directly from Oceanic Cable's AroundHawaii.com site.
No doubt there are many other Web sites that provide useful answers to questions.
News groups have been around longer than Web sites but have seen their popularity wane, giving way to online bulletin boards and social networking sites such as Ryze, Friendster and Craigslist.
A reader recently suggested a national site called Local2me.com as a useful source of answers. Like Craigslist, Local2me attracted a huge following in the San Francisco Bay area.
With your zip code defining your neighborhood, the interaction is directly proportional to your neighborhood's critical mass of people. For Hawai'i, very few people have registered.
Here's your chance to build that critical mass. ;-)
Catch Burt Lum on KORL 690 AM every Tuesday evening at 6.