One of my friends told me recently that she likes my blog, but sometimes when she reads it, she feels like there's too much "inside baseball." But that's kinda what this blog is about. I'm not writing a general, hey-look-at-how-cool-7D-is-for-having-a-blog blog. At least, that's not my intention, because that would be boring. As my partner is fond of saying, "the tool that does everything does nothing."
The "beat" I have in mind is fairly specific — I'm writing for and about VT bloggers and people who are interested in connecting to the VT blogosphere. I'm writing to keep people informed about how VTers are using the internet, and how it's changing (or not changing) our lives here. And I'm providing a forum for VT-specific discussion about these changes.
Also, I aim to introduce readers to interesting and provocative writing that Vermonters are putting on the web, by linking to and posting about VT bloggers. For years, 7D has been supporting the local music community by reviewing local CDs. I want to do the same thing for local bloggers.
Why be VT-specific? Because we don't live online. No matter how much time we spend in front of our computers, we live in the real world, the meatspace. To fully realize the internet's potential for community-building and civic engagement — not to mention its potential as a supplement to the mainstream media — we need to connect what we see online to our offline lives.
That's why it's important to show people that their neighbors are having these online conversations. Eventually, they want to join in. Or at least listen in. An increase in readers and writers will eventually improve local blog content, because new, capable writers will join the conversation, pushing the existing writers to do what they do better. That's how you build the blogosphere.
Er, I think.
In that spirit, here's a post from Sonny Cloward, at Vermont Nonprofit CommunIT that aggregates some of the current thinking about the usefulness of blogs. Sonny is Communication and Information Director of the Craft Emergency Relief Fund. His blog offers "Tools, Resources, Observations, and Best Practices for the Nonprofit Community."