If you’re even looking for a great example of how a website can celebrate and promote an entire region or state, you can point to AwesomeMitten.com. So with HighEdWeb Michigan (#hewebmi) coming up in a few short weeks, I wanted to delve into the site more and ask a few questions of Alex Beaton, who founded and leads the Awesome Mitten team.
The Awesome Mitten was born when I moved back to Michigan after spending my first year post-college in Nashville. One of the reasons I moved back is that I felt so much was happening here. I saw the economy tank when I graduated, and while the unemployment rate wasn’t bouncing back as quickly as I had hoped, people were doing things. The first month I was back, I attended TedxDetroit. I left the event feeling so inspired by these people who weren’t just sharing ideas, they were sharing actions. I went home that night, and bought the domain name AwesomeMitten.com with little or no idea what I was going to do with it. I set up social accounts immediately, and for the next few months I went through several different iterations of what The Awesome Mitten would be. Eventually, by a suggestion of someone I connected with on Twitter, it was decided that the first campaign would be called 365 Days of Awesome. We would feature one cool person, place, band, business, etc. in Michigan, every day for an entire year. The campaign launched on June 6, 2011 and things took off from there!