Saturday, May 26, 2007

A new direction for the old town (now 400 years old)

The RVA Blog Carnival, which is being tended mostly by Jason Kenney, the publisher of J’ Notes, is a part of a new trend -- the gradual coalescence of Richmond bloggers who see potential in building a loosely affiliated community of responsible and independent self-publishers. Now Kenney is calling for submissions to this week’s carnival; click here to read his most recent post on the topic, or simply to find out what a blog carnival is.

Ross Catrow’s RVABlogs, a web site that functions as an aggregator for 177 local blogs, probably began this trend, more than anything else. For a year-and-a-half it has offered its readers a snapshot-style overview of what’s happening in the Richmond blogosphere at any given moment. Thus it allowed local bloggers who had never met to be able to get to know one another through their work.

On April 7 of this year a dozen or so of these local bloggers met at the Baja Bean for a couple of hours of discussion of ways to act cooperatively at times, if only to throw a party. This informal confab over beer had several bloggers meeting for the first time, face-to-face.

Then the work of Catrow and John Murden to build the community blog concept should be noted, as well. Both of them have established community blogs which they publish (Catrow’s West of the Boulevard News and Murden’s Church Hill People’s News) and then helped others to do the same.

Now there are five such blogs up and running -- which includes my effort, the Fan District Hub. The other two are Hills and Heights and Petersburg People’s News. Soon I expect other community blogs based in other metro area neighborhoods will emerge.

Where all this will go is yet to be determined. It’s too new to say for sure.

Still, to me, this trend is rather exciting, because it falls in line with what has been my lifetime career -- such as it has been -- in alternative media. While I have some notion of where I’d like to see it go, it would be premature to get into that now.

So for the present it should just be noted that something new is happening in old Richmond, Virginia, which is now celebrating its 400th birthday.

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