Wednesday, December 17, 2008

What's Wrong With RVA Blogs?...

There have been some grumblings of late about RVA Blogs. It was bound to happen when you put that many people in a room. Most of the discourse is pretty civil with opposing views discussed in an appropriate manner. Others, like one vitriolic right wing site, use name calling in the place of debate and I really don't know what to make of the homophobic nazi skateboard punk site.

My issue is with the explosion of commercial sites and pseudo-blogs (articles from media sites package to look like a blog) drowning out the voices of the people of Richmond. If I want to read 'Mash Up Crew' (an amateur attempt by the RTD to be cool and hip) I'll go to their site. Same with InRich and the flood of other 'blog' postings Media General is foisting upon us.

The other commercial sites are harder to judge. Personally, I get annoyed when I click on an interesting title only to find out they are really just trying to sell me something or promote their business (and no, my business blog is not aggregated on RVA Blogs). On the other hand, sites like VA Family Law blog don't seem to really be selling anything and are really quite interesting.

There is an interesting discussion starting over on Urban Richmonds site. Sadly he no longer seems to be aggregated. Go on over, read and join the discussion. In the discussion Ross says they are going to be working on a redesign for the aggregator for 2009. It will be interesting to see what they come up with. I had been mulling for a number of months leaving the aggregator. I'll hold off on that decision to see what they come up with.

Oh... and welcome back Urban Richmond!!!

15 comments:

mattmoment said...

Someone guided me to this post knowing that we had exchanged barbed posts on a few occasions and suspecting that you were referring to me as a Nazi. This isn't true is it?

Bookstore Piet said...

I don't think your a Nazi. I don't recall you being a skate board punk either. I'm made the statement about another blog based on a photo they posted of their swastika tattoo, racist jokes and homophobic statements. I do not recall any of that on the blog Matt Moment. Unless the other blog is yours also, which I really doubt, the reference has nothing to do with you.

The other blog referenced (the vitriolic right wing one) also has nothing to do with you. Sorry for the confusion, I didn't link to either site as I find both somewhat offensive and didn't want to drive traffic to them.

tbsamsel said...

I've looked at a lot of blogs and I find many of them to be venues for self-absorbed maunderings that veer to the juvenile. I really don't understand the draw of airing one's dirty laundry (amongst other things).. or flaunting the amount of money one has by continually eating out at pricey bôites.

mattmoment said...

My thanks for clearing that up.

I commend you for not linking to the above mentioned blogs.

Bookstore Piet said...

I think anyone who has a blog has to be a bit self absorbed. Doesn't mean that is their major personality trait.
And I really can't recall the last time I ate a pricey boites...

Thomas said...

*giggles*

Jason Kenney said...

Is the problem that RVABlogs has become too successful?

My first thought is, well, you can filter out blogs you don't want to see (though only ten I think) if you register and use that feature. You can narrow that down if you'd like.

Beyond that, one of Guard's arguments is odd, when talking about the erotic photography post:

Damn. I really could have used RVA Blogs as a convenient example of the potential of Web 2.0 applications.

That's just it, that the erotic photography post is in the popular posts is an example of EXACTLY how Web 2.0 works in regards to social media and collective filtering. Admittedly, it does make the site less likely to be used as a tool in classrooms, but DIGG or Delicious or any number of other tools can also fail at times for the same reason.

Also, nothing is forcing anyone to use RVABlogs. There are plenty of RSS reader options one can use to keep up with the sites they really want to read and other means of finding new sites, though those means also require a bit of wading through the muck before you find the good stuff.

I look forward to RVABlogs' redesign and any tweaks that that entails, but I think that over time any "new" site will end up becoming the same over time, unless it's narrowly focused on certain topics other than the very broad "Richmond".

All that said, how have you been, Piet?

mgfreeman said...

Urban Richmond has been re-aggregated at RVA Blogs (thanks Ross). And thanks Piet for linking to the post and bringing attention to this conversation.

iwishicouldcook said...

Interesting post, Piet...and also some interesting comments. Since I'm one of those bloggers that writes about eating out, I wanna respond to the " flaunting the amount of money one has by continually eating out at pricey bôites" comment.

I agree with Piet. If you blog, you have some degree of self-absorption because you find what you do and what you like interesting enough to make public. Such is life. People don't have to read, just like Piet wisely didn't post links to blogs he finds offensive.

So since I'm interested in restaurants and good food and I don't have kids, college debt, major home improvements going on, etc., I'm suddenly "flaunting the amount of money I make?" Seriously?

Kids cost money (alot more than eating out on occasion), home improvements cost money, entering/training for triatholons (or other events people blog about) cost money. So how are they not flaunting what they choose to use their income for?

Sorry to ramble on. I just found that comment really odd.

Bookstore Piet said...

Jason - I'm not sure if 'popular' is the right term. It seems (and these numbers are guesses) that the number of active blogs has stayed pretty steady with new ones taking the place of older ones that go silent. The explosion of new blogs, and the majority of new posts, seems to be coming from commercial media sites. Radio sites, Ellwood Thompson, and the plethora of Media General stuff. I also haven't figured out aggregating Richmond Chic (a Media General creation) which is itself an aggregator.

Then you've got blogs as business like This Young House (big following outside RVA Blogs but not so much within) or VA Family Law blog which is very informative whose only business link is very low key. Who to include? I can't answer that.

Perhaps in the new, improved RVA Blogs there will be different pages for the commercial and media sites and another for the independent voices. Who knows. I have enjoyed being a part of this community for the last year. There have been some pretty lively discussions. If it is, however, to become a site of professional media blogs and thinly veiled advertisements then my interest to participate will dwindle and I'll find someplace else to play.

No hard feelings. Just as I wouldn't fit into the Jeffersoniad I don't belong on a site dominated by Media General. Perhaps Ross should charge the media, professional and business sites. Generate a little income for his huge child... :)

I'm doing much better, thanks for asking. Very thankful that I have very good insurance. I've become the poster child for big pharma and would hate to have to make a decision between eating and breathing....

Bookstore Piet said...

Oh, the filters. Last I checked you can block only three and all that does is remove the teaser text. The title and all still show up. I'd rather they just went away....

tbsamsel said...

Yesterday there were 390~ blogs on RVA blogs.

Today only 350~. Interesting.

Bookstore Piet said...

From the desk of Ross Catrow....

The drop in blog numbers was coincidental. Once every month or so there is a purge of inactive blogs and it just happened to take place as this discussion started... Nothing nefarious took place. Do not pay attention to the man behind the curtain.

We now return control of this comment thread to Bookstore Piet...*

*certain liberties were taken in passing this message along from Ross...

RVA Foodie said...

Jason Kenney: I would love to talk to you more about Web 2.0 stuff. My frustration with not being able to use RVA Blogs was because it IS so accessible. Any one of those students could have created a blog and gotten aggregated. And maybe they will. But, when the site is cluttered, it's less appealing, and in this case not suitable to bring to class. Admittedly, I opportunistically used the example of the erotica as a provocation to get others to voice their thoughts on the direction of RVA Blogs. In the end, I think Ross will probably value the input and it will be more productive than each and every one of us sending him an email. I don't have any illusion that everyone shares my taste or that we'll come to any sort of consensus. But it's still worthwhile to talk about the experience of using the site (as a writer and/or reader).

genevelyn said...

TBSamsel-
you were dead on here--
"I've looked at a lot of blogs and I find many of them to be venues for self-absorbed maunderings that veer to the juvenile."

But, as for your next comment

"I really don't understand the draw of airing one's dirty laundry (amongst other things).. "

The National Enquirer sells a lot of paper, so you probably understand the dirty laundry thing, just aren't interested. As a city, we could stand to raise the blogging bar.