Spreading the word about local blogging

by Simon St. Laurent

I'm mostly happy about how Living in Dryden has turned out, and every now and then I try to encourage other folks to do something similar. Judging by the growing list of Dryden weblogs, I'd say Dryden is doing pretty well in building a community of people writing on a regular basis about things that matter to them.

A couple of months ago I did an interview with fellow technologist Jon Udell. He wrote up some of the interview (though I don't think those are really 'laws'), and the full interview is now available.

I'm also hoping to lead a panel on Creating Local Life on the Global Web at the SXSW Interactive conference next March. Talking about Dryden, New York in the middle of Texas may seem a bit strange, especially at a web development conference attached to film and music shows, but there's a lot to do there.

When the Internet and the Web first appeared, they seemed like great ways to reach large numbers of people who weren't already connected to each other. People who lived in California could talk to people in Germany, Bangaladesh, South Africa, and New Hampshire, about common interests they couldn't have easily shared before. In the past few years, though, it seems that we're learning about how these technologies can help us communicate on a much smaller scale, helping us look beyond the walls and property lines of our homes to connect with our neighbors.

There's a lot to discuss here, and it's not just about places like Dryden. Some 'local' communities are local once a year, at a conference or event, while many have members coming and going. Online communications let people who have left the community stay in touch with what's happening, and even build new connections while they're away.

If you're interested in seeing this at SXSW, visit the panel-picker and vote for (or against) the proposal I've put in. (The Panel Picker is open until September 21st.)


Kurt Cagle
2007-09-06 10:36:30

I've definitely seen the local blogging community aspect take off here in the Vancouver/Victoria area. A number of blogs that I personally interact with, while available from the Internet, are very much focused upon local issues, and I've helped build a few sites (especially around Drupal) that are specifically targeted towards promoting business or technology practices in a single city or region.

I think the Thing Globally/Act Locally mantra holds very much on the Internet. For a number of years, most of the communities that have existed there have been communities of interest, where the localization factor was largely localization of topic or concept. However, we poor humans still live in the meat (meet?) world, and one of those localizations that directly affects us is localization of geography. Thus, it's perhaps not that surprising that we are creating virtual cities on top of the physical ones, abstractions of the relationships that exist in the physical world.

Thanks for the article - it was quite insightful.