10/01/10 578 W - + 5 - 8 Why We Blog About What We Blog About

Continuing on the subject of communication...  What about this blog and how it conducts itself? We meaning me doesn't think of himself as a citizen journalist. Not really. What we feature on the blog is probably too one-sided. You don't read about certain types of bad news on the blog. Notably personnel actions, and even certain types of agency problems. The scope of that restriction can be very localized. We've blogged about agency issues in Orange County, for example. But similar issues in Wake County have gone unmentioned. Is that fair? Good question.

As a blogger, Yours Truly is always learning. The postings and writing and editing styles and even simply the story selection have varied as the months and years have passed. We've presumably been getting better, but also changing and adapting and evolving in other ways. Posts from 6/12/18/24 months ago are different from today's. There's also a heavier or stronger local filter because things ultimately feel "too close to home." Maybe we're drinking the Kool-Aid, or wearing a shade of rose-colored glasses. But when you know so many of the people involved, it's wrenching to write about (and even read about!) their bad news. Another factor is value.

Does blogging about Something Bad add value, either in disseminating the information or facilitating the discussion therein? Methinks not, or not enough to warrant. Our readers and the responder community is already aware When Things Happen. They're reading the same stories, or at least have access to the same stories. (Not everyone is compelled to dig around news sites and the Internet site, mind you. Nor do they spend all hours of all days at a computer, and connected to the Internet.) Dipping into that well doesn't seem worth doing. So we don't.

The blog is a lark, a learning experience, a platform for presentation, a discussion forum, an announcement board, and a venue for shameless self-promotion. The readership hangs around 1,000 each day. Lots of locals, but some or maybe many elsewhere. Are they hour, daily, or weekly readers? Don't know. The number of lurkers far exceeds the posters of comments. That's a no-brainer. Does the general public read the thing? Joe and Jane Six-Pack? Don't know. We have seen postings a couple times from citizens who had had house fires. They added positive comments about their loss, and appreciation for the responders who responded.

We get search hits and subsequent comments from time to time. Person uses Google and finds an older posting, and adds a perspective therein. Plus Yours Truly uses the thing all the time as an archive of his own thoughts, and factoids. I am always doing searches on odd historical facts, that I recorded or logged on the blog. It's a great place to permanently "jot stuff down." Does the blog have the potential to "explode," and suddenly attracted hundreds or thousands of readers? Or drawn the sudden attention of the local media outlets? Maybe. I mean, anything's possible. But day to day, and perhaps until the last day, the blog is a smaller and more-closed entity.

Yeah, we're still making it all up as go. But at least there's five years of experience under our belts. Hopefully the tone and style and "in general all about it" is reasonably consistent. If nothing else, we've become masters at talking in the third-person! Say good night, Mike.

Mike – Your effort here actually serves an essential purpose for our local emergency responders. A blended posting approach of the controversial along with the mundane not only attracts readers (namely emergency responders) but also allows folks to (hopefully) respectfully “vent” and or otherwise offer their perspectives, maybe some FACTS, and even present inquiries. Anonymity is not too bad, but can be problematic in some cases. In the least, the blog is entertainment for many, however I personally view it as opportunity to legitimately educate readers on facts rather than perceptions or rumors. You mentioned “VALUE” in you comments… it is indeed a key word we all to often fail to recognize; AND even understand its dramatic effects on personal perspectives.
A.C. Rich - 10/01/10 - 17:03

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