Blogging in the O

2 Mar

Over the past few days, I’ve been thinking a lot about the state of the Oakland blogosphere. I felt a bit depressed on Wednesday after reading V Smoothe’s assessment:

One acquaintance has a habit of sweetly referring to ABO as the best Oakland blog, which warms my heart, of course, but usually ends up making me feel kind of depressed. I mean, it’s pretty easy to be the best when you don’t have any competition. The only blog in my “Oakland Politics” links section that updates with any frequency whatsoever is Dogtown Commons, and if I’m being honest, it isn’t actually about Oakland politics at all. I just stick it there because I love it so much, and Dellums and Tucker come up occasionally. In terms of metroblogs that aren’t specifically politics-focused, there’s Living in the O and Oakland Goods, and that’s about it. What gives?… You can see from my links list that we have a fair number of blogs out here, and I like most of them when they do write, but that only happens like every two months or so on average.

But in the following days, I realized that we don’t have it so bad. Sure, we don’t have dozens of regularly updated blogs here like other areas have, but the blogs we do have are engaging and highly informative.

Even more importantly to me, I feel a strong sense of community within the Oakland blogosphere. Though all of us bloggers don’t always agree, we do engage with each other. We link to each other in our blogrolls, comment on each other’s pages, and link to particular blog posts frequently.

This really sunk in on Friday. I noticed midway through the day that I was receiving a ridiculous amount of hits and soon realized that though Living in the O wasn’t mentioned in Chip Johnson’s column about Oakland blogs, since most of the blogs mentioned in the article link to my blog, I got a ton of residual traffic, several comments from new visitors, and new RSS subscribers.

I think some of us (including myself) often take this community for granted, but maybe we shouldn’t. On Friday night, I was hanging out with a friend who’s a blogger who lives in Oakland, but he blogs about national issues. He commented on how I receive a lot of comments on my blog and that it must be nice to be part of a small blogging community. Though he receives a good amount of traffic, he said it’s mostly from people searching the web for Giuliani, and these anonymous visitors don’t engage as much.

Though I’d certainly appreciate more bloggers joining in on the Oakland dialogue, I’d still rather be part of a small, engaging community than be one in a million blogging without any community.


6 Responses to “Blogging in the O”

  1. Noah March 3, 2008 at 1:44 pm #

    Maybe we should invite Rudy Giuliani to Oakland and you and I can do a joint piece on him and his awesome, fascist ways!

  2. Becks March 3, 2008 at 1:58 pm #

    The only problem with that is we’d have to suffer through one of his speeches (and subject Oaklanders to him). I’d rather just let his political life die than encourage it.

  3. Noah March 3, 2008 at 3:08 pm #

    Apparently you haven’t learned the lessons of 9/11.

  4. Jessica March 5, 2008 at 4:57 pm #

    I think the intermittent coverage we ll give Oakland is a good start, but I wish we had more regular, dedicated bloggers, too. I love V’s political coverage – I wish someone would blog regularly in counterpoint to her views, too. Oakland’s the kind of place where diversity of opinion is still a pretty narrow band, and I’d like to head more voices from the blogoaksphere.

  5. Angela March 7, 2008 at 11:30 am #

    Well, I read and enjoy “Living in the O” as well as about a dozen other Oakland-centric blogs. Many are about specific districts and deal with neighborhood politics, in the narrow sense. Oakland is a tough city to talk about politically. It’s diffuse and there are many competing groups and parties — de la Fuente, Russo, Nadel particularly are always up to something, usually contrary to what Dellums is proposing. Then there’s the redevelopment, the transportation, the police, etc…Oakland doesn’t have a center like other cities. But this the explosion of blogs is a good sign that Oakland has people pulling for it, who care about it. So, hopefully we’ll get more diversity of blogs but for now I count my blessings.

  6. Becks March 7, 2008 at 2:26 pm #

    Maybe it’s time to start a blogger recruitment program? 🙂

    Really though, if you’re looking for a counterpoint to V’s views, just read the comments. Maybe some of the commenters that consistently challenge her are ready to start their own blogs?

    Until then, I agree with Angela – I’m happy to see how far the blogoaksphere (thanks for the term Jessica!) has come and am excited to see where it goes from here…

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