Diversity may be deemed one of Houston's greatest strengths, but some of the city's treasures are hidden from the masses. Newcomers and some long-time residents remain unaware — and do not always take advantage — of what makes the Bayou City exceptional.
Houston's Voice is Comcast's answer to that conundrum; and CultureMap is in on the action.
The online community site — for locals by locals — follows a trend in video consumption on computers and mobile devices. Think of it as the love child between YouTube and Pinterest: A web portal of Houston-centric shorts produced by approved content providers including Houston Arts Television, HISD-TV, Houston Community College, ZenFilm, Texas Business Alliance, La Chicana Laundry Pictures, Long Films Studio and Calbillo Productions, among others.
The Internet channel is part of Comcast's Project Open Voice, an effort to facilitate access to public, educational and government programming. The end user will encounter a mash-up of topics from a feature on Lauren Anderson and Charlie Stagg to information on teaching initiatives, interfaith dialogue and philanthropy.
"Houston's Voice will deliver the exciting content to our desktops and mobile devices to showcase the talent and vibrancy of the place we call home."
Visitors to the site are encouraged to log in with Facebook, Twitter, Google, LinkedIn, Yahoo or Myspace credentials, and comment, recommend, email and distribute content via social media channels.
Mayor Annise Parker welcomed the initiative at a recent City Hall press conference. Though the city is not contributing tax dollars to Houston's Voice, Parker recognized the opportunity for the network to unite Houstonians with common interests to share resources.
"Our city is rich with diversity, a can-do spirit and limitless possibilities," Mayor Annise Parker said in a statement. "Houston's Voice will deliver the exciting content to our desktops and mobile devices to showcase the talent and vibrancy of the place we call home."
CultureMap is one of the media partners and content providers. In the next coming weeks, a special series module will be embedded on our home page, highlighting videos, relevant news and events aligned with the spirit of the Comcast project.
Houston — alongside Fresno, Calif.; Hialeah, Fla.; Peterborough, N.H.; Philadelphia; and Medford, Mass. — is one of six cities chosen to pilot Project Open Voice, with each market receiving its own distinctly branded site aligned with current demographics.
Tell us in the comments: Do you love this idea? What hidden Houston gems would you like to see featured?