Lowcountry Blogging

Personally, I believe we need to understand what we expect from the the local blogosphere. I became excited about the prospect of a local roundup after I was introduced to www.Nashvilleistalking.com . I’m not expecting a “Charleston Is Talking” clone to appear. What I do think is there may be a lot to learn from their format. They have a growing blogging community, the political aspects are fascinating, and they haven’t lost touch with the personal blogs, either.

Jared commented that he believes the blogging community is forming the new media. (This is not an exact quote, I may have misheard him.) I don’t know that I am in complete agreement, but I think it will have some impact.

How much impact? That I’m not sure. Without losing the voices that make our blogs enjoyable, will we be able to bring attention to local issues? Is it possible that our community will grow and convince others that there is power in the written word? More so, by bringing attention to the topics that matter most to us, will we have any influence? I really don’t know.

I don’t know what the other active bloggers are envisioning. Please share your thoughts. Feel free to leave them here or at your own blog.

For the record, April and Jared both pretended not to know any webdevelopers.


#1 Vera on 07.15.06 at 3:11 am

From the start, I wanted my blog to be mostly about my crafting life, and although other aspects of my life creep in, knitting and crocheting are the focus.

I think our community will continue to grow and influence others as well as ourselves.

The Nashville blog is pretty cool.

#2 Jason on 07.15.06 at 3:30 am

The Photography Guild would love to see more photojournalism as a means of bringing attention to local issues. A few months ago, a store down on Kng Street had a sign up in the window that read “Please don’t feed the homeless”! I was so shocked, I just had to take a picture in case it got hastily torn down just to document the moment. Afterward I called the P&C who ended up doing an article on it, even calling me for a few quotes. Never asked for the photo, but I still have it somewhere. Hmmm…perhaps that’d even be a good POTD over on the SCPG photoblog.

As far as April goes, she did not know, but Jared did intentionally leave me out as I can’t do web design anywhere near the level he does, but I do know some basics, so if the questions you have are simple, or your design needs are basic, I might be able to help you (or whoever) with bits and pieces here and there…

Great meetup by the way, your Deviant Art site is quite intriguing too.

#3 April on 07.15.06 at 5:09 am

The problem that I see, is outside of Charleston Watch, there isn’t a lot of “new media” reporting happening in the LowCountry Blogs. We all just are doing are own things and talking about our lives and interests. Which is great! That is a the heart of what good blogging should be, it is a personal thing for each blogger.

I think it would be interesting to do a kind of Technorati setup where the LowCountry blogs aggregates our blog posts based on categories. So if we want to see what people are saying about politics or knitting, we hit a button at the latest posts pop up.

Of course, not all of us bloggers (I’m guilty myself) tag our posts, so we would still need a round-up.

Just some ideas…


#4 imabug on 07.15.06 at 7:07 am

Aggregating local blogs can be done pretty easily now. My Lowcountry Blogs planet checks feeds and updates every 3 hours. Needs a feed though, so if a blog doesn’t have one it’s essentially invisible. Aggregating by category might be a little more difficult, but with Jared and I both using Planet, maybe we can put our heads together to figure something out. Maybe there’s some other software to do that out there.

A lot of what I see in local political blogs is simply regurgitating stuff from other blogs or articles with a smattering of commentary. Are any of us in touch enough with the local goings-on to point out things of interest? I don’t really have the eye or the sense to pick up on stuff like Jason mentions, so I think I’d be pretty useless at blogging about anything other than what goes on in my tiny piece of the world. Maybe now that it’s on my brain, I’ll notice things like that more though which would mean lowcountry bloggers can influence others.

am i rambling?

#5 Joan on 07.15.06 at 12:12 pm

Thanks for the link. I like the 100 things about Nashville – we may need to do one of those for Charleston.

#6 Heather on 07.15.06 at 12:15 pm

Eugene, you bring up the point I forgot to make.

I don’t want anyone to lose their voices, but my impression of the blogging community is most are vibrant, aware, and capable of forming readable commentary.

Jason II brings up a good point, even if he missed the fact I was teasing April and Jared. We are all capable of bringing things we see to light. Is it going to be life altering? Probably not, but I do believe it could be exciting and fun.

I wouldn’t expect everyone to run out and attend meetings of public concern just because someone else thinks it’s a good idea. However, we are spread out over the Lowcountry, we all have different social circles and we aren’t subject to the rules of the local media.

That being said, I don’t think it’s a quick process. I think it will take time to develop the kind of conversation that I was referring to over on NiT. We are still in the getting to know you stage and honestly it can take time to develop skin thick enough to be on the other side of a debate.
I think there are some amazing blogs, in our local blogosphere and I don’t want anyone to think I wish they wrote about something different, because I don’t. I hope that others feel the same way about my own. OK, I can undertand being annoyed with “cute kid” type posts, but I really try to keep those to a minimum.

Stop rambling, Heather.

I think with practice, patience, and the right format we can spark something very interesting.

#7 Jason on 07.15.06 at 1:19 pm

Not a rambling at all…very good thoughts there. I think the continued dialogue is one of the most important parts at growing toward the ends that we all envision. Perhaps a bulletin board type of forum could be imlemented where we could all have regular dialogues on the direction and future of LowCountry Blogosphere. From there we could also hyperlink back to our blogs and other events and news of the area.

Just a few ideas that spun around this am from a pre-caffeinated brain! 🙂

#8 peg on 07.15.06 at 5:07 pm

Why does it always feel like rambling when you write more that a few lines in a comment, I wonder? I like this dialogue and will come back to it when I can. This moment I am taking a break from packing up our house stuff and I really have to see this project through this weekend. See, already this comment looks too long — this little box! Maybe I will write about this at my blog, then, where I can more comfortably go on and on. Will let you know. I think whoever said — Jason? — about a bb is on to something. Anyhow since I was the one who requested the summary of the discussion, I wanted to at least say thanks for now.

#9 TJ on 07.15.06 at 6:03 pm

Nashville is small and Charleston is even smaller. That presents a problem because their is a resistance to diversity of opinion. Blogs resemble society and people tend to favor material that coincides with their own. Thus, people are left out.

The local blog round-ups are not really round-ups at all. They’re more like bits and pieces from blogs that a particular person likes. It CAN become very elitist.

The more successful blog communities, in Brooklyn for example, highlight material from as many blogs as possible. I’d love to see that here but it’s unlikely to happen. The first time someone was critical of the Post and Courier, phony writers, or ANY subject that met with the disapproval of the moderators-BOOM- away it descends into elitism.

Last week 15 local bloggers met on James Island to discuss these very issues. Many refuse to become involved in anything that is coordinated by the Postscripts people. That’s unfortunate.

I’m all for it as long as it’s inclusive.

#10 imabug on 07.15.06 at 6:39 pm

As someone who’s done a few round-ups now, writing one up isn’t as easy as it might seem. There’s a long list of blogs to go through, and some of them aren’t easy to sum up in just a few sentences. I’ve noticed I have a tendency to kind of gloss over or skip blog entries that just quote large chunks of other blogs or news articles without much contribution by the blog author. When I’m doing a round-up I don’t want to just regurgitate the entry. I want to write a short little tidbit about the entry that will make the reader want to go check it. That can be tough to do sometimes.

I still try to be as inclusive as I can though. I go through every blog in TBB and check it for a new entry and to see if the blog has a feed URL when I’m rounding up. A lot of them go for days or weeks without anything new. If it’s not in TBB or in the Planet, then it’s not going to be included because I don’t know about it. Sometimes it’s just tough to include every single blog that has a new entry because some of them just don’t really say anything. And then the round-up can only capture entries that are posted before the round-up was written. I think that’s where something like the Planet aggregator comes in as a really good way to supplement the round-up. It provides a way to include those blogs that get missed in the round-up. But the blog has to have a feed for Planet to see it. I’m happy to include new blogs and see the denizens of Lowcountry Bloggers Planet get nice and long.

I don’t quite understand why people wouldn’t want to get involved with what’s getting started with Lowcountryblogs. Sure the effort was started by someone at P&C, but nobody there has any editorial control over what we write or post in our blogs or round-ups. Lowcountryblogs is just a vehicle to gather the collective bloggings of people around here.

I’d be interested to hear what those 15 bloggers discussed and the ideas they came up with.

#11 Heather on 07.15.06 at 8:25 pm

Do you have a link to the Brooklyn Community? I’d like to see an example.

While I’m far from perfect, when I’ve done the round-up it has included every updated blog I had access to. Would it have been better if I hit some of the Big Guys on both sides of the political spectrum and included what they were fired up about at that moment. Maybe, but there is a limit when I’m not paid.

Do you have any example of someone being purposely excluded? If I missed them doing the round up, I apologize. I do remember one blogger who made a comment about being excluded. I made it a point to check his blog when doing roundups, but he seemed to have stopped writing. Charleston Watch is critical of The P&C and they are included.

Truth be told though, can we be responsible for purposeful self-exclusion? I know I’ve scanned the search engines on a number of occasions looking for additional local bloggers, but if someone has that feature turned off, I’m unlikely to find them.

Personally, I’ll include anyone. I certainly don’t have to agree with someone to find their writing fascinating.

#12 April on 07.16.06 at 12:53 am

I’ve done the round-up twice now (and probably won’t do it again as I’ve gotten burned both times, they never posted to the main page that I had done it. Bitch, moan, grumble).

I don’t think the point of the round-ups should ever be to include *everybody.* For one, not every blog is going to have an “interesting” post on any given day. “Interesting” of course is in the eye of the person doing the round-up. When I’ve gotten “snubbed,” I reevaluated my post for that day, and tried to do a better one for the next day.

Please don’t take that to mean that I am pandering to LowCountry Blogs (LCB). I would never censor what I want to say or how I say it for the sake of traffic, but I do try to maintain a level of excellence that makes it more likely that people will enjoy my post and maybe have it mentioned in LCB (which is gravy for me).

I am questioning whether any project to aggregate the blogs and do round-ups, etc, can be maintained by the P&C forever. I respect P&C for what they have done with LCB, but I don’t know if they have the time or resources to expand the project. I guess that is something that Daniel could answer.

Certainly, if the blogging community (including the 15 people who met @ James Island) in the area wants to see something like LCB, but expanded and more developed, then we as a community need to sit down together and do a project spec on what we would like to have happen.


#13 Joan on 07.16.06 at 1:02 am

I enjoyed a pleasant evening last night with lots of fun visiting, kidding and getting to know folks with a touch of “hey, what do you think we might do or become?” I did not meet to discuss issues and I probably won’t meet to discuss issues in the future. I do a full day’s work already.

We’ve had such glee finding and presenting new blogs that we discover to Dan to include it saddens me to have it suggested that it hasn’t been done right or fairly. I was blogging for years before Postscripts existed and I expect we’d all keep going whether it continued or not. So far it’s been icing on the cake as far as I am concerned and Dan and Janet have been a treat to get to know and read.

tj, would you consider joining in on doing the round-ups and show us what you mean? Your comment has made me feel like I would be judged on how I did it and that kinda sucks the joy out of trying something new.


#14 Heather on 07.16.06 at 11:06 am

Joan, I agree, I should have stated that I fully expect the meet ups to remain fun. That’s why I didn’t push the topic. I figured I’d plant the seed and we could hash it out on the blogs.

Aside from that, the meetings aren’t all inclusive, people occasionally do have to take off the pjs (haha) and meet other obligations. There are still quite a few people whose opinion I’d like to read: Alison and Biffle for example, but if I remember right, they are quite busy in NYC for the moment.

#15 peg on 07.16.06 at 11:23 pm

How much stuff can 2 people accumulate in 10 yrs? quite a lot, even if they think they’re living simply, it turns out. I am up to my ears literally with boxes and stuff and the weekend’s drawing to a close. Will have to get back to this discussion later yet, sorry. Lots of sharp, insightful pts/comments that speak for me, too, as is. One thing I might add is that everyone should try doing the roundups — eye-opening experience. Imabug is right about how challenging it is, especially if you are trying to come up with a teaser to send readers to the actual blogs. You might be surprised to find how few are aligned with your pt of view or that interest you or are hard to understand — and in some cases, how far back in a blog you might have to read to understand it, if the posts are part of a continuing conversation. How far back would you read? Could you? Would you?! May depend on if you are working (who isn’t?) & like Heather said, there is a point to how far you go with something that is solely voluntary. I imagine, for example, Dan is really challenged by doing these on top of his regular full-time job. (I know I was.) Still, I encourage other people to try the roundup if for no other reason than to actually read the other blogs in the big blog roll; for me it kind of legitimized taking the time to do something that I otherwise don’t have the time to do. Okay, break is over!

#16 Jason on 07.17.06 at 5:11 am

Well said Peg. I think having everyone participate in at least one roundup would at least encourage more reading. It would take some time. My guess is about two hours of uninterrupted work, to get it all together. While I am not sure about others blog interfaces, one thing I like about Word Press is that you an save a post before publishing and come back and work on it more later. The only problem I would have is turnaround time. A roundup ideally should occur in less than 24 hours – hence why the Monday rounding would be the most time consuming, because people have three days to post and boom, they’re included in the roundup. Having said that, I would be willing to volunteer 2 hours of my time for a mid-week round up at least once. (It is easier for me than some perhaps because I work in IT and am around my computer virtually the entire work day. For the retired or work-from home types I guess that would also hold true to a certain extent, but I dont want to make any assumptions…)

#17 Agricola on 07.17.06 at 11:04 am

I’m sorry I missed the gathering, but work got in the way at the last minute. My inside man, Windviel, said fun was had by all.

I hope I have not missed something, but I notice a thread about updates. If everyone turned on their RSS feed it would be a good thing. I use an aggregator called “bloglines”, which is free, and web based. It updates every frew minutes or so, and I have my SC Blogs folder. All of you that use RSS show up quite regularly. I really encourage everyone to use RSS and an agrregator….a wonderful time saver.

#18 Daniel on 07.17.06 at 4:18 pm

This is a great thread, and many of the criticisms of LCB, myself and the round-ups have legitimacy. It’s also pointing out why my goal has been to help the local blogosphere develop independent of LCB.

From the beginning, the goal of LCBs has been to make the local blogosphere aware of itself. The hope is that once our blogosphere becomes aware of itself, it will form one or more identities, because the bloggers will find something of value in it. Anyway, as that happens, LCB will try to cover those spontaneous communities.

So, to the extent that this is taking place, I’m happy with the result.

Criticisms like TJ’s, however, are inevitable when you have a project like this, and particularly so when the dominant local daily is involved. We anticipated this before we started the project, though, and I’ve always tried to be clear about the blog’s mission: to cover and promote, not to direct or control.

So I think it’s perfectly appropriate that there would be 15 bloggers who group up and form their own network. This happens informally all the time, and it’s natural. In this case I think they’re woefully incorrect in their assessment of me, but that’s not the point.

re: April (meretrice). She is right. Twice she has filed roundups, and I’ve not lived up to my end of the deal either time. Neither time was intentional (and this last time was purely technical in nature), but she’s right.

re: the roundups. Yep. They take me two to three hours to complete, and they’re very subjective. Is that subjectivity elitist? Well, that’s subjective, too. As Eugene points out, we could set up a local blog robot that would scrape the sites equally, and I think this will eventually happen. The round-ups are an experiment.

re: “serious” citizen media. I love some of the serious stuff, but if you’re asking ME, i think we need to guard against the idea that only the “serious” stuff is valuable. you will routinely find bloggers who are more personal in their subject matter who say things like “well, I’m not that important.” i think there are wide variations in quality, but some of my favorite blog writers spend most of their attention on “small” subjects.

#19 TJ on 07.17.06 at 6:42 pm

One note about round-ups: If you begin to do them, don’t stop. Or at least don’t stop because you underestimated the amount of time. Anyone with ANY experience online will attest to the difficulty of a comprohensive round-up. It’s time consuming.

Dan talks about the dominant local daily. This isn’t a large town. The P&C is the only local daily and for many it’s not a very good one. Thus, any ties to it are going to be looked upon with suspicion. I’ve noted in several e-mails the number of college students who refuse to participate because of their view of the P&C. As I stated I think that’s unfortunate because it’s the only paper we have…to our own detriment.

I’m not critical of Dan. He stepped up. However, his objectivity is colored by his employer. He’s not going to highlight material that is not consistent with what the P&C stands for though that will be hotly denied. usually newspapers point out the fact that they print material that is critical of the newspaper itself. That’s true but that is culled from many sources. Blogs do not fall into a neat category. Opinions and taste vary.

This isn’t twentieth century journalism – it’s a medium that presents the opportunity for everyday people to read and print their own opinions. Newspapers are flailing to keep up. Look at the public editor – sent out to frame opinion about the paper! newspapers have their own spin doctors. Hilarious!

The fact remains that a round-up might include material that is objectionable…to all of us. The question becomes can we handle it? Actually the question is more like do we have the resources and time. It can be simple or extravagant.

Sorry Heather for taking up so much space.

#20 Heather on 07.17.06 at 6:56 pm

serious media: I haven’t been able to articulate my thoughts on the matter as well as I’d like. I in no way want people to change what they blog about. Yet, I do think that we each have access to information that others might overlook. For instance, since my husband works in the steel industry, I pay close attention to what is happening to the manufacturing side of the economy. Does it make me an expert? Absolutely not. Do I think that there is a good chance I might be able to express a valid observation from time to time? Yes.

TJ, take up as much space as you’d like; I’m finding this conversation very interesting.

#21 Daniel on 07.17.06 at 7:08 pm


I think you can find plenty of examples of links to material that is critical of the P&C that have appeared in Lowcountry Blogs, particularly from the Charleston Watch folks. In fact, if I find stuff that’s critical of the paper, I make a point of linking to it — for exactly this reason. You may certainly interpret where i put it and how I describe it however you wish, but I just disagree with the idea that I’ve somehow hidden or disproportionately downplayed stuff that’s critical of my employer.

Where I think my subjectivity comes in is in selecting which material to include, which material to highlight, and sometimes, which material to just leave out. When I’m rounding up I try to keep a neutral (or friendly) tone most of the time, but the decision-making is subjective, meaning it can be done well or done poorly. And I concede that’s a wide open subject.

#22 TJ on 07.18.06 at 12:46 am

Well the term subjective is getting a workout. I don’t read Charleston Watch so I’ve no idea what they write about but it seems that Dan’s response is spot on with respect to what I expected him to say.

Let me bring up the issue of people being excluded. For the most part people avoid being critical. They form their own circles and get on with their blogging. If they feel left out does anyone really expect them to pop over here and say, “Hey, I’m being excluded!” No. Most won’t, especially if they are younger.

Let’s face it-no amount of effort will generate something that is all things to all people. My opinion is straightforward; do what you wish to do. If people hop on board, so be it. If not, rest assured they will find like minded people and move on. This isn’t the UN. This can actually work but not for all. It will work for some and in blogging, in today’s fast paced world, some is enough.

Ciao and best wishes,


#23 Uncle Zoloft on 07.18.06 at 10:19 am

Great discussion.

I have never been a journal keeper, so blogging was a suprise enjoyment. I try to blog each day for sanity, random thoughts, interesting reading (imho,) bad jokes, photoshop political commentary , shameless self-promotions, and blowing off steam due to being defined as 2nd class in a Red State.

I find Lowcountry Blogs a great way to survey thoughts of our community. I read where the web leads me, usually around the world in a couple of hours.

I did try doing a round-up one day; it does take time to hit everyone and I was only working on A-C. To those of you have “rounded-up” thank you for your time and effort.

Keep on postin’ y’all ~ it’s nice to know what’s goin’ on in or community.

#24 Joan on 07.18.06 at 11:48 am

Once again – I vote for tj to do a round up this week. Yeah tj! I vote for tj! Join in and show us how it’s done. We are all trying to figure it out the best we can. You are after all one of us – a Lowcountry Blogger on the Big Blogroll.

Whoosh. I am off to work before I get fired.

#25 TJ on 07.18.06 at 3:52 pm


Thanks for the nomination but you are far more active within the PostScripts circle. You are well-liked and never, ever post anything confrontational or otherwise offensive to anyone’s sensibilities. You’d be perfect for the round-ups. No one could complain about you.

I may do a roundup in the next week that attempts to be more inclusive. Then again I may choose to leave it the inner circle. Joan, that’d be you.

Heather – I promise this is my last comment on the issue. Thanks for moderating the discussion.

All jokes aside, I think Heather is the perfect choice to moderate this and a future lowcountry blog round-up. She’s intelligent, well written, and cares genuinely about the whole issue. I’m not going to be rude and vote for her but I’d get involved if Heather sought to get something up and running. I would commit to two days per week.

Thanks Heather!

#26 Joel Maners on 07.18.06 at 6:00 pm

I’d be happy if more people re-learn the art of writing (and I’m not talking about those who use numbers in the middle of words to serve as a contraction! Got it? Gr8!). Also, am I the only one who is sick of people chatting mindlessly about nothing on cell phones?

#27 Anonymous on 07.18.06 at 6:49 pm


and that has what to do with this subject?

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