Friday, March 21, 2008

Adirondack Blogosphere: Year Three

This month marks the third anniversary of the Adirondack Adirondack and that means a look at the local blogosphere.

New Local Blogs of Note

This past year, once again, has been a banner year for local blogs. A look at our blogroll (at right, below) shows that a number of new blogs have joined the ranks. Here are a few that I think are the best new local blogs:

Corktown Capers – written by the chaplain of the Corinth Fire Department. You’ll remember that Corinth recently had a devastatingly destructive fire. Here is another post – God in Three Inches – worth reading and thinking about.

City Mouse / Country House – the ramblings of a musician, artist, craftsperson, modern homesteader and who knows what else, splitting his time between the Adirondacks and the big city. Check out I Have a Propane Problem, and Authentic Dreams for a taste of what it’s all about.

Adirondack Naturalist – NatureGirl says : “From sea slugs to sundews, redpolls to resin blisters, the world presents an endless array of “WOW” upon which we can feast our eyes, ears and mind.” Her blog has so far proven to be the proverbial dinner table. May we suggest My Favorite Marten and a helping of Hungry Deer?

Lake Placid Skater – a figure skater and speed skater living and training in Lake Placid writes this local blog that provides a little insight into what’s really happening on the Olympic rink – loaded with photos. Check out her report on the “load-in” for 2008 Empire State Games entitled Meeting Monica and find out what speed guarding is all about.

There has been a movement toward local business blogging. The best of the business blog bunch has been The Cottage Chat based in the The Cottage Cafe, the former Mirror Lake Inn boathouse turned pub-style restaurant in 1976. The Cottage Chat’s mix of event notices, Lake Placid gossip, and general community news is the best of what Adirondack business blogging can (and should) become. Another blog worthy of note this year is the infrequently updated but funny, irreverent, and mildly urbanesque cogblog from the women of Adworkshop / Inphorm.

Something we hope not to see anymore in local business blogs is the attempt to attract readers by using blog titles that mis-construe the true nature of the blog. Adirondack Vacation Guide, by Harbor Hill Inns and Cottages in Saranac Lake is a classic example. Some advice: be honest with your readers business bloggers, be upfront about your purpose, offer value. Take the good example of Christy’s Motel in Old Forge; their regular reports on snowmobiling conditions no doubt attract readers and customers – without the subterfuge.

Local Media Enters the Blogosphere (Sort Of)

The local papers have begun to get into the blogging game more seriously. Syracuse was named one of America’s Top Twenty Blogging Cities and I suspect that a large part of the reason is the Syracuse Post-Standard’s acceptance of the blog community. Unlike local media who – even though they’ve tried to enter the Adirondack blogsphere – have yet to cover the local blog scene in any even remotely appropriate way, the Post-Standard online includes an enormous list of blogs, and reports regularly on local blogs and blogging. Even the Adirondack Almanack graced their pages when we wrote about the Best Summer Adirondack Travel Blogging in September 2007.

The best local newpaper blogs (other media still hasn’t entered the fray) arrived this past year at the Albany Times Union. Their list of blogs is impressive, but so far offer little more than your average old media style commentary. Perhaps the best blog of the bunch is Birding by Rich Guthrie. Guthrie’s pursuit of his topic demonstrates the kind of potential local newspaper blogs have.

The Saratogian’s managing editor Barabara Lombardo entered the local blogosphere with Fresh Ink – not much happening there though. The Glens Falls Post Star’s effort (blog list) seems like some kind of weird joke, unless you’re a sports fan. The archives are nearly impossible to navigate.

Our suggestion for local media outlets? Take a lesson from the Syracuse Post Standard and get involved in your local blog world and abandoned attempts to merely capitalize on it. That’s just not what the blogosphere is about – it’s about a variety of voices engaging the local media world. There’s nothing wrong with making money from your efforts, but provide your audience with value first.

Those interested in the local blogospere should check out our comparison of local news stories reported on blogs and local mainstream media which appeared to show that local blogs are competing head-to-head for internet eyeballs.

There is also now a list of mentions of Adirondack Almanack in the local media, for those who are interested.

On a related note – although in the past year the New York Times opened its historic archives to readers, local newspapers have yet to figure out that people want to be able to access their stories for more than a week or two even though, as we recently pointed out, there is obviously a great desire to access old copies of local papers.

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John Warren has been exploring the woods and waters of the Adirondacks for more than 45 years. After a career as a print journalist and documentary television producer he founded Adirondack Almanack in 2005 and co-founded Adirondack Atlas in 2015.

John's Adirondack Outdoors Conditions Report can be heard Friday mornings across the region on North Country Public Radio and on WSLP Lake Placid.

He is also on the staff of the New York State Writers Institute and edits The New York History Blog. He is the author of two books of regional history.




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