I was thinking about the ongoing animosity between Nashville bloggers and our local free weekly, The Nashville Scene*. I was also thinking how I really like two things about the Nashville “blogosphere.” One is that we really do have a kind of loose-knit community and the other is that there’s a really amazing depth of knowledge in it.
The last time Tim Morgan guest-blogged at Nashville is Talking, he put together an RSS feed of all the Nashville bloggers Brittney knew of at that time, and I’ve been reading them all faithfully since then.
It’s pretty cool. I read a lot of folks I wouldn’t otherwise go to and I feel like my understanding of my community is a little broader because of it.
Here’s what I was wondering. Is there a way to bring the content of the Nashville blogosphere into direct competition with the Scene?
Could you design a site that kind of felt like a newspaper site–maybe it would have some individual pages–news, local, entertainment, sports, business, religion, opinion, etc.–that local bloggers could choose to participate in, that would split ad revenue among us? Not that it’d be a huge amount, obviously, but just some token? And could it run like some kind of giant modified site aggregator?
Okay, so here’s what I’m thinking, which I don’t know how to do. Say the person running the site came to me and said, “Hey, Aunt B., do you want to be a part of this?” and I said, “Yes, what do I do?”
I think, in a perfect world, I’d do nothing different than I already do, because it’s just a giant site aggregator, except that there would be some kind of standardized tagging so that the site would know how to classify your post.
Gah, I’m such a muddled thinker, but it seems to me that the pages would have standard slots and if you wanted your posts to show up in those slots, you’d tag them accordingly. So, if there was a slot for “idiot ideas,” I’d tag this “idiot ideas” and the first couple of paragraphs would show up on the site, there’d be a jump, and the jump would land you to my site.
If I had stuff I didn’t want to show up on the… what do we call it… the alt.everyday, I just wouldn’t give it a tag the software would recognize. So, I guess it’d be some kind of aggregator/sorting thingy.
And maybe on each page, there’d be ten slots that gave you part of the post of the author, but then there could be a bunch of links at the bottom of the page that were just post titles, so that as new posts were written, there’d be some movement on the page, with the newest post occupying the most prime real estate and then moving from slot to slot as more posts came in, so that you could guarantee folks that the newest… I don’t know… say twenty-five or thirty posts would stay available for at least a day, before dropping off.
And it seems to me that, if you had some kind of catchy thing to call it, you could work it a little like Citysearch. You could have a nashville.catchything.com, which would give you all Nashville & surrounding area bloggers. You could do a memphis.catchything.com, which would give you Memphis. But what I think would be really cool is that you could also do it by state–tennessee.catchything.com. Or maybe by region–south.catchything.com.
Now, this would be attractive to advertisers, I would think, because you could pinpoint the communities you wanted to reach. But I imagine it might also allow smaller blogs a platform from which to be heard nationally. Right now, if someone at CNN says, “Oh god, what are the bloggers saying about this?” They’re turning to Glenn Reynolds or Andrew Sullivan or Atrios or Kos or Michelle Malkin–people who already have a lot of readers and a platform from which to exude influence.
But if there were a widely known network of blogging aggregators/sorters/whatevers, any old assistant anywhere could say, “Wow, you know, I looked at tennesse.catchything.com and as far as national politics go, everyone is concerned that Nancy Pelosi is no better than her predecessors.” The site(s) would give them a place to go to get a quick overview of a wide swath of opinions.
Anyway, that’s what I was thinking about when I was walking the dog this morning. I wonder if a lack of caffeine is making me crazy.
*I guess we should just give up the pretense of calling it an alt.weekly?