HoCo: Whatever Happen To….
The Baltimore Sun had a good article yesterday on the growth of blogging in Howard County. A couple people emailed me asking why my website was not included and Wordbones even highlighted this on his website when mentioning the article. The truth of the matter is the reporter did contact me by email a few months ago. I responded by both email and phone, but never got a return call after that. I honestly assumed the article was dead since it did not appear for months after the reporter’s initial contact and never really followed up again. Anyway, I’ve been profiled before by local newspapers (Columbia Flier, Washington Post, Baltimore Examiner) and honestly, my blogging about Howard County news and notes has tailed off anyway, so my site probably was not a good fit for this article, so no big deal to me.
With the previous profiles in mind and looking at the websites mentioned in this article, I did find it interesting how things have changed. The Baltimore Examiner probably had the most in-depth profile of the Howard County Blogging Community in April 2006. The article is no longer available on the Examiner website (heck, The Baltimore Examiner doesn’t even exist in paper form anymore) and at the time, there were only four known blogs be written out of Howard County. I still hold some pride in that I was the first (starting in December 2002), but it wasn’t long after I started that the other three joined the fray. But a mere three years later after that profile, out of the four profiled in that Baltimore Examiner article, two are completely dead and a third is on life support.
Howard County Maryland Blog is still somewhat active in that has an occasional post from the original blog writer as well as from the occasional guest blogger; but, the site is not nearly as active as it once was. Interesting story back when I first started, I was still somewhat unknown and the writer of this blog came to me and mentioned he saw my site online. I had never really advertised my site to anyway, preferring to just live in my own world. It wasn’t long after that he decided to start his own website and, in my opinion, became the go to place for local news from Howard County. Our sites together did start gaining some recognition in Howard County to the where even local politicians were leaving comments and mentioning our sites in public. I know the writer of this blog, as well as a couple of his guest bloggers, personally and know they have enough on their plate to keep them busy. I am sure the blog is far down the list on priorities.
The other two blogs mentioned in that April 2006 profile are completely dead. One publicly announced on their blog they were closing down and the other by just natural attrition. HoCo Hayduke was actually the first pure Howard County blog I ever found. It was written by Ian Kennedy, who is now a cog in the Ken Ulman administration. He started out anonymously before “outing” himself online and running for the Columbia Association Council from Oakland Mills. Hayduke spoke strictly on local Howard County issues, adding in the occasional personal story as well, and was a daily read for me. However, it was understandable when he became a flack for Ulman that posting his own opinion online that might contradict the opinion of his boss would not be feasible and he decided to shut it down. Howard County Blog was started by Evan Coren and eventually added some additional writers such as former County Council candidate Jim Adams. His site was very detailed in looking at Columbia issues, especially on the development of Downton. However, once Coren won a seat on the Columbia Council from King Contrivance, his website went dormant and has had only one post since July 6, 2008.
For close to a year, we WERE the Howard County blogging community and knew each other to the point in 2006, we developed what we called the Howard County Blogger Forum for all the local candiadtes running for County Council and the General Assembly. Despite our political differences, Hayduke and Coren on the left and myself and the other blogger on the right, we came together and attempted to promote an online dialougue leading to eh 2006 election. I will freely admit that it did not become as successful as we had planned as some of the candidates (mostly Democrats) refused to particpate, but I believe it was a good hearted effort and I would like to believe the four of us helped create a great foundation for the much more thriving online discussions on local issues we have today.
Anyway, I am so glad to see a slew of new blog sites based in Howard County and talking about Howard County. As my site gained some national following, my blogging on local issues went down, so I am more than happy to have others pick up the slack (and then some). I sometimes find more news about what is going on in Howard County from these websites than I do from the local newspapers and my favorites sites were some of those mentioned in the article. Being a political guy, I tend to follow sites like Wordbones, FreeMarket, Columbia Compass, Columbia Now and Columbia Blog Project, but I do dabble occasionally in the others when something on HoCoBlogs strikes me as interesting.
Kudos to everyone mentioned in the article and hopefully the added notoriety brings you increased traffic and encourages you to keep things going. I know those profiles in the local newspapers gave me a leg up and brought people here who have never left. And I am sure yesterday’s article will do the same for everyone else.