Local blogging

I am so excited to see the increasing number of people blogging in and around Orange County! Greensboro has a thriving blogger community (see Greensboro 101, GSOlive, and TriadBlogs - much of this is due to inspiration by Ed Cone), I wonder if we could (or would want to) do the same here? The ball has already started rolling with a conference about blogging to be held in Chapel Hill on February 12. Yours truly will be there, and I hope some of you will come to represent the participants in this "blog community" as well.

A number of us have been talking about developing a list of local bloggers. There is already a Triangle list being maintained at NCblogs.com, but I think there would be some value in a list of blogs that discuss or are from Orange County specifically.

Here are the ones I know of sorted by most recently updated. If you know of others not on this list, please post their addresses in the comments. As far as I know these are all personal blogs, so any affiliation listed is only for identification purposes.

The Real Paul Jones by Paul Jones, director of ibiblio.org
GreeneSpace by Sally Greene, Chapel Hill Town Council Member
Is that Legal? by Eric Muller, UNC Law Professor
Time for Pie
Mister Sugar by Anton Zuiker, UNC grad student
Tuba Frenzy by Tim Ross, DJ
AudioActivism by Brian Russell, activist and podcaster
Ruby's Rants & Randomness by Ruby Sinreich
The Trixie Update by Ben MacNeill, father
Pink Plaid Face
She Had a Thirst for Knowledge
Justinsomnia by Justin Watt, UNC grad student
XTCIAN by Ian Williams, former DTH columnist
Fist Full of Plooble by Dave Thomas
Rebecky by Rebecca Giménez

Some that haven't been updated at all recently:
Triangle Elections by Mark Chilton, Carrboro Board of Aldermen member
Orange County Politics by Mark Peters

And then there's everyone over at Tarheel Bloggers. Whew!

I know there are lots more local blogs, but I'm not sure if they're Orange County people. Please add more by posting a comment...



all of us are members of multiple communities and most of the time our blogs reflect that. an rss aggregator that pulls in content from the blogs of everyone that lives in chapel hill/carrboro area is going to pull in a lot of non-chapel hill/carrboro crap.

but an intelligent or interesting aggregator like the folks at boingboing or gawker cull material, prevent dupes, post things that are interesting and relevant to them and add insightful/irreverent/controversial commentary. they also become hubs for disseminating information that people send to them to share.

i wonder can the same be done in the local/small (albeit enlightened) town sphere?

Thanks (sincerely) for the kick in the pants, Ruby. I've updated my blog.

It sure does look like this is the new frontier of journalism, doesn't it? Axes falling in Durham and our beloved WCHL blends into the collective white noise of syndication. That just breaks my heart on every level.

Happy New Year everyone. Keep on Bloggin'!

An orange county blog rss aggregator would be useful to keep up with ALL of the people in our area that are blogging... and podcasting. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Podcasting

Personal rss aggregator software and websites like http://www.bloglines.com are for tracking sites that are personally interesting. You can make your own public or private lists of sites to watch.

A public orange county blog aggregator should be open to any and all. If your blog entry is the newest it's at the top of the page. It's that simple.

Half-Life and Times (http://home.earthlink.net/~half-lifeblog) and So, Anyway.... (http://home.earthlink.net/~so_anyway) are both Orange County personal blogs - mine and my sweetie's.

One issue I want to address at the Triangle Bloggers Conference 2005 is the place of blogs as local media and in local media. We can start here if you like. Are we up for being We, the Media?
What's making me think about this more often and, I hope, more deeply in the last few months are a few local media changes: WCHL as was noticed here went from very very local to mostly syndicated national shows after a visit from a consultant. The Herald-Sun's purchase by Paxton and today's firing of what WRAL says is 20% of the Herald-Sun staff including four of the paper's senior officers (Thanks to Phil Meyer for the alert on that one). Potential changes at the Chapel Hill News.
And nationally Pulitzer may be up for sale. With rumors that McClatchy, owner of the News and Observer and others, may be one of the next on the line.
Wow this has gotten long!

so i think pretty much everyone intuitively realizes the diminishing utility of link lists. (think: yahoo circa 1996)

couple that with machine-generated aggregation of all the content from those blogs and you've got a pea soup that's much less than the sum of its parts. (witness: greensboro101 and triadblogs, imho)

i propose that a local blog resource (as opposed to a global resource, such as feedster) requires intelligent culling of material. in otherwords an editor, or editorial board a la boingboing or orangepolitics. in other words, someone or ones with a vested interest in the community who takes the time to read/receive all the posts by community bloggers and include only the interesting and community-relevant posts.

anton, i would put that forward as the ultimate goal for this conference.

Tony, so sorry I forgot you! I also forgot my friend George Entenman.

And these which have sadly not been updated in months:
Steve Sherman
Jean Bolduc

And then there are the several faces of Jack Granger:

Gee, Ruby, thanks for the plugs, I think.

Liberal in Love, Jack

Ruby - no worries!

Justin - you bring up some interesting points. I may be wrong, but it sounds like you've already got a definition of "community" in your mind - we probably all do but I'm betting it's not the same for each of us. I'd be curious to understand what your view of "interesting and community-relevant" posts is - certainly something that could be explored at the bloggercon. Another possibility might be writer selection of posts - the blogger designates a post as one to be aggregated or not.

I think there is some utility left in simple link lists if they are relatively specific (how specific is specific enough will change with the size of the covered population). I was familiar with some but certainly not all of the blogs in Ruby's list above - I've already checked out a couple that were new to me and found some interesting reads. If the list of OC bloggers is 500 long, that's probably not useful. If it's 40 or 50, I'd suggest that there is utility there indeed.

Thank you, Ruby! If anyone needs a note of frivolity - I'm your gal.

Justin -- I really like that idea a lot, a boingboing model. Why don't you start one up, and gather a few cullers???
I wouldn't mind culling for such a thing as I read around....

ok, so i guess i'll continue to use this post to explore my thoughts on the matter. you know, rather than my own blog.

it occurs to me that a blog with posts limited to a restricted geographical area (such as chapel hill/carrboro or orange county) would get boring really quick, both for the readers and the editors/authors. there needs to be something more than "being local" that draws people in.

with most blogs it's the personality and charisma of the author. your posts might be about carrboro, but if you also happen to be belle-de-jour then people keep coming back and you keep having something to write about.

but a dumb old blog about chapel hill or greensboro doesn't have anything like that, so interest and readership is going to consist more of one-offs than sustained readership. (think of the difference between HBO and the TV Guide Channel)

which brings me to my conclusion: that orangepolitics might just have that perfect element of umami. by it's very name, it's deals with a local geographical area and a specific subject matter (where a lot of stuff worth posting about happens).

the problem is, politics in orange county doesn't interests me that much. but what i see happening is that many of the posts only deal tangentially with local politics (if at all) and often with local life, which i do find very interesting. which begs the question that i think anton (and myself) have been trying to pursue: what can we do locally with blogs? maybe it turns out one of the answers is already right here in front of us.

and if orangepolitics is the answer, ruby, how might it adjust to the larger mission of chronically life in orange county? perhaps creating a sister blog called orangelife or orangeliving perhaps we should start a blog called The O.C.? (hehe)

I like Justin's idea. For my taste, it could be a cross between The Onion and The Daily Show, with running spoofs on news-oriented goings-on. If that's not a whole blog, maybe it's a featured section of Life on The Orange Peel.

Our local news market (and I'm thinking here mainly of TV) is utterly comical at times – especially when it doesn't mean to be. I gasped the other day when I read a headline that said tsunami victims were “flooding hospitals.” Somebody was sound asleep at the copy desk to let that one through.

Justin, I like where you're going with that. I have been really wanting to set up a structly local aggregator, maybe it would be boring to everyone except me.

As I said on Robin's blog: "I was hoping the list we compiled would reflect the breadth of articulate voices here, but also maybe some common themes among our personal values in Orange County. Blogs are in such a first-person voice, but together they may say something collectively about our community."

I would be happy to have something like this affiliated with Orange Politics, but I don't have time to do the programming or all of the editing/culling. Perhaps we can work together on that, Justin and Robin and others...?

Another one to add to the list, I don't know how I forgot John Allore's blog: http://whokilledtheresa.blogspot.com

jean, i was thinking more of a cross between found magazine and boingboing, but i think a little bit of the onion and daily show would be good too (especially in the comments).

ruby, maybe a whole nother blog (as i alluded to) isn't necessary. maybe just a minor adjustment of an existing one. orangepolitics becomes "progressive perspectives on life and politics in orange county, nc".

maybe you institute a monthly "guestblogger" policy like boingboing used to do. and let robin or picky or anton or paul add their unique voice to orangepolitics for a limited time. maybe you're already doing this and i just don't know.

and i hate to say it... but The OP needs a tasteful shot of multimedia. perhaps images included in relevant posts. perhaps an occasional photo+caption that stands as a post by itself. when i think about a local community, foremost on my mind are the physical spaces people share (e.e strong's coffee, weaver street market), and i think a tasteful use of photos would be another way to reflect the physical community in a virtual space. let me be the first to volunteer as a willing and able guestphlogger. ooo, that sounds dirty.

This would seem to be great fodder for the conference @ UNC on Feb 12. Looking forward to it.

After looking at Found magazine, I feel less paranoid about owning a shredder for many years.

Ruby, Justin, Jean and others - great thread here, and just what I'm hoping we can continue at the Triangle Bloggers Conference. The strength of a local aggregator, to me, is that it reflects the depth and breadth of the many bloggers in the area, and a good way to catch the memes or themes those bloggers might address. But an aggregator is still just a collection of voices (sure, there are ways those disparate voices can can connect: cross-linking, blogrolls, TrackBack and comments). But the strength of the orangepolitics model, i.e. a community blog, is that there's more conversation, or at least a commonality to the voices and central mission or theme. And so creating a communal blog has great potential, I think, because the dialogue on that blog can spill out into the physical community. That, at least, is my theory and hope. Which is to say, I'd love to participate in the site/blog you come up with.

Howdy Ruby,
I know this is an old post and all, but if you happen to find this comment I thought I'd let you know I'm attempting a list of local aggregators at: http://bloggingpoet.squarespace.com/blog-aggregators/ and welcome suggestions.


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