EDIT: Loki informs there is one. And there you have it. Now you don't have to read this post.
The Rising Tide Conference was excellent. The blogging community and the blog-reading community coming together was a great idea. I learned just as much from the people sitting at my table as the people sitting on the panels.
One topic that came up during the media panel was a how to promote local blogs in the face of carpetblogging. Carpetblogging should be defined as more than just “outsiders” blogging about a community. When we step out of our areas of expertise to comment on something that we feel is important, we all become outsiders to some degree. For example, I write about levees but I am no engineer. That doesn’t mean that my opinion should be instantly written off.
I think of carpetblogging as blogging from an outside perspective that shuts out local voices or hijacks the vehicles for local voices to be heard.
If outsiders enter a community and do not claim to replace the local voices – essentially working on a parallel path as the local voices – this should be encouraged. Bullets aimed in the same direction hit the same target.
That doesn’t mean we all have to agree. That’s not what I am saying. The local voices need to be challenged just as any viewpoint must be challenged. The target we are all aiming for is the truth. I am not necessarily any closer to the truth just because I live here. I am only as close to the truth as my arguments are supported by reality.
When outsiders with larger readership enter a community, it is possible for them to hijack the discussion not because it is their intention, but because their readership is greater. If this happened, it would be without malice, but it would be carpetblogging nonetheless. It is possible for someone not “from here” to enter the community without smothering the local voices and moving down that parallel path, scout_prime being the obvious example of this.
So, as the organizers of the Rising Tide Conference came together, why not come together in a Rising Tide NOLA Blog?
Of course, it all depends on your goals. A group blog would swallow up the individual blogger’s voice. He or she would be seen within the framework of the greater blog and would have to work inside that framework. The blogger’s credibility would be tied to the group blog’s credibility, and each individual would have to cooperate to protect and foster the blog’s credibility.
But, if your goal is more readership, especially from outside the community, a group blog would probably accomplish that. A locally formed group blog would also safeguard the local voices and create a brand to market those local voices.
However, if your goal is more local readership and more local participation, the way it is now is probably preferable to the One True Group Blog. Adding up the readers of all the individual blogs could be seen as community readership. And, as ThinkNOLA is proving, greater participation on the individual level empowers a community.
I am certainly no expert in blogging. In that sense, I am an outsider in this conversation. But I know I would check in everyday if there were a Rising Tide NOLA Blog.
Especially if it linked to me. (Ha ha.)