County Commission's Talking Head

If you're a regular visitor to the website of Knox County Commission (and who isn't, really?), you had a bit of a surprise in the last few weeks. When you visit now, in addition to the sleek redesign launched last year, you are greeted—literally—by a miniature, talking Mike Hammond. Or the top half of him, anyway. Hammond, the Commission's chairman, pops up in the top left corner to say, "Welcome to our website!" and give a brief rundown of information available on the site. "We put it on there because the people from IT came in and said, basically, ‘Would you do something for the website, because it's kind of boring,'" Hammond says. County Clerk Foster Arnett has an even more advanced welcoming avatar on his site, with interactive elements. Hammond allows that he thinks his greeting is "a little cheesy," but he says he hopes to update the message every few months—and maybe rotate the virtual duty among his fellow commissioners, too.