Friday, April 25

Things to love about FoCo

Beet Street is nearly twelve hours into BlogJam 2008, where they are blogging for 24 hours straight. (Aren't all blogs 24 hours?) Essentially, they've opened comments on a thread asking why Fort Collins is so great. At the time of this post, 89 mostly anonymous folks have cheered on the Choice City for things like dogs, bikes, Horsetooth, and various businesses likely touting themselves. (Please note: I was not the one who mentioned the trivia night I host at Coop's as a favorite thing, though I appreciate whoever did.)

What I'm wondering is, Where are the less savory "favorite things"? You know, less family-friendly things like 4/20 celebrations (though margs make many appearances). Or what about sarcasm? Likewise, I'm surprised no one has posted cynical comments about gripes like traffic, development, BrewFest, etc. Blog commentators, especially of the anonymous variety, can be real jerks; where are the jerks? It must be the weather warming up cold sentiments, which can't be a bad thing.

I commend the effort of trying to get the community blogging, but right now it seems a little self-congratulatory. Hopefully next time the BlogJam format will be used to open up a dialogue with a little more substance than "Fort Collins is awesome because..." That sounds like a fifth-grade essay topic.

But I suggest Holla readers head over and contribute, even if the dog park is the only positive you can think of.


vanessa said...

I'm glad you brought this up, Josh, because when I checked out the BlogJam site this morning, after posting headlines, I was dissuaded from participating.

Yesterday's post "Are You Ready? We're Ready!!" provides "good" and "bad" examples of content for this project. The "good" example is considered a "positive, tourist appealing tip." Scroll down to the next post and the rules clearly state that this is a promotional plug for the city.

Indeed, it's an innovative way to market Fort Collins, but is the promotional disclosure apparent enough? And what kind of community discourse is this intended to inspire if everyone's forced into cheerleader/PR positions?

A more balanced critique would be more beneficial to the community's health and collective creativity in the long run. And a more apparent disclaimer regarding the commercial nature of this project would help to clarify the intention.

Beet Street said...

Vanessa/Josh- Our primary intent was to compile insider's tips on things to do, see, and know about Fort Collins for the uninitiated not to exclude those with legitimate concerns or ideas for improvement. I recognize that there's plenty of room for debate and exchange on this topic. Frankly, I've been hoping to see more that kind of dialog on Rocky Mountain Holla.

I have to tell you that, given the level of education/tech savvy, I'm more than a little surprised by how few people blog in our community. We merely thought that this would provide an opportunity for those who've never blogged to get their feet wet by seeing how easy it is to join in an online exchange in a fun, non-threatening manner (by actually learning how to comment step-by-step); check out other blogs to entice more participation (see our blogroll); and, to drop an insider's view onto the thread. We tried to keep the body of the site to a few entries to make it apparent that we were hoping to aggregate these comments to share on our website because we thought it would be cool to use real comments instead of pure marketing copy. So, the commercial value of these comments is debatable. And, nothing sinister intended.

We were planning to keep the thread open for 24-hours (only) to see how many more people we could encourage to participate if there was a deadline. So, you see, it was all about providing a new experience and getting people to talk a little more. And, I see nothing wrong with providing an outlet to say something nice or fun – it’s your job to report and analyze the news and that’s why I keep coming back.

We’ll keep the thread open for a while (because we are still moderating it) for anyone who’d still like to jump in. [BTW Josh, I posted the GWD comment. When my husband and I caught the tail end of a session right before we decided to move here, he said, “beer and trivia? Well, it’s official, I will die a happy man in this town - tell them you’ll take the job!”]

Keep up the good work – I’m lovin’ the Holla!

Carol Bennis, Beet Street

Beet Street said...

One more thing, PLEASE help us find more interesting things to post. Old Town - very charming; beer - yum; etc. You know there are much more interesting things to share. No one has mentioned the Alley Cat (as a 24-hour place to hang), the music scene (including house shows) - you know there is much more to Fort Collins. We need the "what to do" after 9pm list (that I can publish...)

Cheers! /cb