Corporate Conglomerate and Local Blogs and Blogging

Probably one of my favorite blogs is not a media blog at all, but a blog about how bloggers could have better blogs called “Problogger.” I am hardly alone in my sentiments about “Problogger.” I think it is one of the best resources, and one of the most popular blogs on the World Wide Web, for those folks interested in making their blogging “better.”

(Problogger has recently changed its “look.” It was an “average” looking blog. But recently, it has gone to what I call “the next blog level.” Going from a “familiar” and “comfortable” format, to one that looks, feels and sounds more “professional.” I happen to like the old “comfortable” format better. But that’s just me.)

When I started the Newburyport Blog almost 2 years ago, I also wanted to start a “national” blog. However, having read “Problogger,” I realized that the “national blog” “niche” was already really full, and that I most probably would have little or no fresh insights to offer any audience. So that one was out.

It did, however, dawn on me that no one appeared to be writing “local blogs,” and there would be a real “niche” for writing a blog about Newburyport, Massachusetts. I also happen to love the place, as anyone reading the Newburyport Blog could probably attest to, and found that I also not only really enjoyed blogging about Newburyport, MA, but also learned a whole lot about the city in the process.

And I wanted to put “Adsense” in the Newburyport Blog. And early in 2006 I could not find anyone who knew about blogging software, who could help me. In fact, the reaction that I got over and over again was, “Why in the world would you want to do that” (ie blogging about Newburyport, MA, or blogging period).

So out of necessity I became a “blogging nerd.” I taught myself all about blogging software. How to write it, tweak it and put just about anything I wanted to put into it. Who knew I had a “software engineering” gene within me? Not moi. And it’s turned out to be one of the “perks” of doing the Newburyport Blog. I am fascinated by that whole aspect of it.

And a local blog was such a “small” niche back then, that unfortunately it was difficult to find directories in which to place the Newburyport Blog. Oh, well.

Much to my “delight,” about 6-8 weeks ago I started to find directories that were featuring “local” blogs. “Eureka.” I said to myself, “Finally folks are beginning to get onto the ‘local blog’ bandwagon. ”

When I checked out the local blog directories, there did appear to a few “local independent” blogs, but many of them appeared to be associated with one particular news organization.

I said to myself, “Oh, well. Who cares. At least now I have some company. And no one is going to ask me, ‘Why would you even think of doing that.’ ”

How completely trusting and naïve of me.

But how could I have known that a large media conglomerate would decide to launch 158 “hyperlocal” sites.

And I fear that the Newburyport Blog, a labor of love, could be completely swamped by a tsunami of large corporate money, and all that it could buy. And the new genuine, fledgling “local,” “independent” blogs which have the potential of really offering the community of Newburyport something of “value,” especially if they are “niche” blogs, could be drowned in this wave of corporate internet interest as well.

Mary Eaton