Monday, July 11, 2005

Locals Take Up Blogging - Again?

I'm recreating the article which mentions my blog here before it disappears from cyberspace - unlikely in the age of Google Caching - but you never know.

Locals Take Up Blogging

Dave Bakke
Contact Info.: 217- 788-1541 &

Source: State Journal Register

Publication date: 2005-06-29

Anyone can have their own column. Just start a weblog.

The Springfield blogosphere is expanding. Maybe 10 new Springfield blogs have been created in the past month. The newest, LOOK BACK SPRINGFIELD, is only a couple of days old.

Whether you want to read about politics, love, details of bloggers' lives or Springfield history, it's there.

Published reports have estimated about 20,000 blogs a day are created. Some focus on particular subjects such as politics or pets. Others are more like personal diaries and can be poorly done, as I found.

I browsed through the 40-odd Springfield blogs I located on the Web. The authors of some of the blogs are apparent. Others do not give their names, for various reasons.

The quality of the blogs varies from addicting to godawful. The majority were lame. Many local blogs were along the lines of (and this is an actual quote), "I drank a lot last night and got really sick, dude."

Some of the local blogs have not been updated for weeks or months. Some people posted once and quit. But I also found good, local-issue-oriented blogs. Search for the blog names, and you will find them. They also feature links to other local blogs:

BLOGFREE SPRINGFIELD - Dan Naumovich's opinions about items from the local media, though I have yet to see any entries regarding Illinois Times or Channel 20. Usually the topic comes from either this newspaper or WMAY's talk shows. What I like about BlogFree is that Naumovich is fair and thoughtful in his comments. And he uses his name.

Naumovich says he intended to create his media blog as part of his work for his master's degree in communications. He did a different project to earn his degree, but then followed through on the blog idea a few months ago.

JEROMEPROPHET - Whoever he is, he just redesigned his site, and it was a big improvement. He has entries on the defunct Dairy Queen on MacArthur Boulevard and the bridge between the city's east and west administration buildings on Monroe Street. He wants the bridge down and DQ up.

THE ELEVENTH HOUR - Politics, local news and humor. Lots of links to other blogs of interest, both local and national. It is written by "Dave."

Jim Leach, WMAY morning host, has one called "ABELOG - A BLOG." He updates it as often as three or four times a day.

Dina, morning co-host at WDBR, has a blog as part of her radio station's Web site. DINA'S BLOG is a personal diary-type blog. Leach and the other WMAY hosts' blogs are more issue-oriented, in keeping with the themes of their shows.

"It's a marketing extension of the show," Leach says. He points out an anomaly in the local political blogs.

"I've noticed with a lot of the local blogs that they have a more liberal bent to them," he said. "I haven't seen any conservative ones, which is surprising given the politics of the area we live in."

That should inspire someone.

Many of the local bloggers are getting on the same page - literally. Many of them will be contributing to Look Back Springfield. Its subject is Springfield memories. The first topic, which appeared Tuesday, is Springfield Barber College's shoe- shiners of the 1960s.

Among the local personal-diary type blogs, I have written about Julie Burness's MIRRORS and it continues to be a favorite of mine. DISARRANGING MINE is another good, local one. Marie Carnes combines personal experiences with interesting photos from Springfield and occasionally gets into issues, such as care for the elderly.

Grace Smith, former columnist at Illinois Times and total theater creature, writes GRACE UNCENSORED. It is pretty much her IT column, just uprooted and moved to the Internet so if you miss her, go there and get Graced.

Naumovich says his site gets 70-80 readers a day, which gives you an idea how few people are reading these. But they are in their infancy, and those numbers will rise as word spreads.

There has to be ego in the blog mix somewhere. Otherwise, why would you think people care what you think about an issue or what you did last night? If you must post things about your life, your weekend, your boyfriend or your dog, you better lead an interesting enough life or be a good enough writer that people will want to read it. But, just like columnists, some are good and most are not.

It helps if you have something original to say or are a good storyteller because, believe it or not, the rest of the world doesn't care if you had too much too drink last night and got really sick. Dude.

The article appears online at BuilderOnline

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