Oakland Blog Shrinkage
First, what happened to blogs like OaklandSeen and Good News In Oakland? The OaklandSeen blog started by long-time Oakland political activist and KPFA Morning Show star Aimee Allison has not produced a single new blog post since late May - it's June 24th now. And this tweet was issued June 8th and pointed to some kind of problem:
OaklandSeen has been undergoing a few technical difficulties. Thank you for your patience. Keep watching this space for more Oakland LOVE...
The most recent, most prominent blog post pointed to Oakland Seen's recently gained "Making Democracy Work" award, presented by the Oakland League Of Women Voters. That's the same award given to this blogger for work during the Oakland Mayor's Race - thanks again!
But whatever's happening, and sources have pointed to some difficulties between editorial staff and management, let's hope OaklandSeen makes a come back.
I've said it before, I'll say it again: hyperlocal is hyperstupid. Unless you're going to walk the beat and try and get local businesses to pay more than the website space is worth from a traffic stand-point (hey, there are suckers out there who don't know how to value what they're paying for), you can't make money and sustain a stand-alone blog site that just covers local community news and ignores World News, pop culture, and sports.
And all for the pseudo-intellectual reason of "That's not news." Look, the fact that people look at web items about, I don't know, Heidi Montag, makes it news. This blogger says this all the time to journalists: "Stop whining about it!" People are voyeurs, and so want to read about other people - a web link with a name of a known person will be clicked on more than one about a known place or a thing.
OaklandSeen is still up, but Good News In Oakland is not. It's dead for now, because when you click on the link to the URL, you get a Go Daddy-owned webpage where Good News In Oakland once was. That's sad.
What's happening is that, because the Oakland locals - OaklandSeen, Good News In Oakland, A Better Oakland, Oakland North, Oakland Focus and Oakland Local - largely don't work together, the overall web strength of the total group is poor.
The main problem is that there are a ton of huge egos among Oakland Bloggers that for the most part don't want to really work together, and for the dumbest of reasons.
To point the finger at myself, I've lent a hand to help a number of people, and even invited some Oakland Bloggers to cross-post to my blogs at Oakland Focus and Zennie62.com, and other blogs in my 100-blog network. Some do, but then fall off after a time, and then some bad mouth me for no good reason behind my back.
So I'm supposed to want to help that person in the future? I'd rather not. Life's too short for that.
If I'm asked to come to cover an event by another Oakland blog, I'm there. If I can't make it, I explain why I can't. I've shown many how to video-blog, and some how to blog for traffic - but that's where the rub is. Some can't seem to "get" that the Internet is not print, and people will not come just because you wrote the modern day equivalent to War and Peace. Who cares?
Oakland Bloggers: take your freaking ego out of the equation. You have to write so your work is picked up by search engines and news aggregators. What you want people to accept is a dream - wake up.
According to reports, Good News In Oakland had a fund-drive party on December 18th - I wasn't informed of that. But whatever happened, it didn't raise enough money to sustain the blog site; it's gone for now. And the fact that the URL wasn't purchased is reflective of the lack of value of the name itself; people don't type "Good news in Oakland" in search a lot. Just a fact.
What remains is a Facebook page "liked" by well-over 9,000 people, including me. It's one reason why I went off on The City Of Oakland's ill-advised press release about its Facebook Page that has barely one-third the number of likes.
The blog A Better Oakland chugs along, unsupported by ads or a wealthy investment banker; V Smoothe (Echa Schnider), the blog's owner, has a full time job with the Oakland Public Library system (which hopefully she will be able to keep). Plus, she has a tight focus and a small, loyal following of people who reallycare about Oakland, even if they always don't agree with each other.
That Echa has outside income is what makes her situation vastly different from the other examples. The other Oakland blogs have tried to generate income from some source; but while Echa has went on a fund-drive or three in the past, it wasn't to "save" the blog from extinction, more to generate some income for the amount of time she spent on it. Still, it's touch and go.
And what about The Oakland Post, the news of Oakland's black community and stalwart since the Jurassic age of news? The online version exists, but that's about it. It's just a collection of blog posts, and with no social media component - Twitter? Ever heard or it? - at all.
The Oakland Post is a sad example of the Oakland Blog landscape - so full of great potential, yet poor in execution because of lack of teamwork. If the vast majority of people in this town would get over their petty crap, the news would be different. But they don't, and the town suffers.
Ask yourself this question: why don't Oakland Local, Oakland North, and A Better Oakland work together? Why did A Better Oakland and Oakland North skip the Code For Oakland event? Was Echa invited? Was Oakland North invited? A look at their content shows that that Code For Oakland wasn't a subject of coverage - I covered it. But then I was invited.
See? Something's really wrong here in Oakland.
Stay tuned for part two, when I focus on Oakland North, that dreaded interloper The Bay Citizen, and some other surprises.