Tuesday, May 01, 2007

So What Am I Doing with GABB?

Cross-posted on G.A.B.B - the Greater Akron Bloggers Blog.

Some of you may have notice that I’ve been posting a lot on the Greater Akron Bloggers Blog (GABB). Not many of you have. Probably the rest have noticed that posting on Pho's has been a little thin. Yes, I’ve been working through some ideas about GABB and, yes, let things go a little to seed on my home blog. I’ve done enough on GABB to feel there is a viable mission for the blog.

A Brief History of Akron Blogging.

Redhorse and I started GABB a year ago. At that time, the idea was building the community of Akron area bloggers by offering a forum for people to blog about Akron-oriented stuff that would be a little off-topic on their home blogs. People contributed some good content for a while, but things gradually petered out.

The original model for GABB didn’t work for a number of reasons. First and foremost, it’s hard enough to keep one blog up to date. Adding unique content to a separate blog was too much for the participants. Also, many of the bloggers who got involved – most notably Redhorse and I – expanded somewhat the subject matter for our blogs. Red and I are not so much all politics all the time; we now do a little more of what the folks at Placeblogger call place blogging.

Still, there was GABB and some good came out of it. We did one meet-up last summer. Red and I had gotten to know the Chief Source folks and Mr. Boring, but none of us had met PeppermintLisa before then. We kicked around some ideas for building the blogger community, but then everyone got terribly busy and a second didn’t happen. GABB was one vehicle for keeping in touch while it lasted.

Whither GABB?

When thinking about what to do with this thing that started but suffered from a flawed format, I thought about my story. I started the Pages for me, with no thought of building an audience. Then I discovered Brewed Fresh Daily and George discovered me. He linked to me, blogrolled me, others did the same and, without really planning it, I had a blog.

We have a great blogging community here in the Akron area, most of whom don’t know each other. Or rather, we have a bunch of different communities, with thin tendrils connecting them occasionally. I’m interested in helping build the communities that arise around blogs and trying to forge connections I’m trying to revive GABB with something like the BFD model. Since we are all regional these days, think of it as BFD+ if you’d like.

Over the past few days I’ve been highlighting post on Akron-based blogs that are about Akron. Lots of the blogs around town are personal journals, and a number cover politics or business or some other passion, vocation or avocation. But all occasionally talk about something happening here in Akron and that seemed to be the best way to winnow down the wealth of posts.

Not to say I won’t occasionally also feature a post that isn’t about Akron qua Akron. It’s happened already and will happen again when something particularly tickles me or really illuminates the soul of a local blogger.

In addition to that, I will highlight news stories about the area germane to topics under discussion (the Highland Theatre, for instance) in local media. If something pops up in either the national media or blogs from elsewhere, I’ll post about that as well, especially if it seems to be flying under the local radar. And occasionally a story will appear that is so local, so lacking in deeper import, that I'll toss a post up with a quick take.

In addition to all that, I’m planning two regular features of original content. One is photos from around town. This will be just what strikes my fancy and what my crappy pocket digital camera captures reasonably well. First example is directly below.

Second, I plan to feature a Website of the Week – something Akron-based and cool. Or perhaps something Akron-based and deserving mockery. The first of these went up last week

Invitation to the Community

The original members of the blog are still on and still free to contribute any way they want. If someone wants to post a photo or highlight something particularly cool from their home blog feel free. I’ve put my imprint here mostly by default. I’m absolutely ready to let a broader community of bloggers overrun the place and make it over.

Finally, I encourage people who are interested in blogging but don’t have the time for the care and feeding of a blog to sthink about getting involved. I do want to know someone before opening it up, and want to let other people with posting privileges have some input on all that. For now, I invite 54Cermak and J.D. Amer -- bloggers who found their lives too busy to keep up blogs full time. If you guys are interested, drop me a line. In the future, invites may go out, for instance, to people who frequently post good comments.

There are other issues to consider which can wait for a later date. For example, I want to expand the sidebar to include link lists for Akron websites, but I also want to do something about this butt-ugly template and have learned not to invest a lot into the sidebar before a template change. Also, if a community grows around GABB, I want that community to have input into the look of the place.

So with that, let us declare GABB 2.o officially launched. Enjoy.