Monday, January 2, 2012

Apologies, and EveryBlock

(I had originally wanted to post this on the Windy Citizen, but like most things WC, it is broken. Or my posting rights have been revoked.)

Hello there whoever might be reading this...

Yeah. I know.

I haven't updated this blog in months.

I have two very good reasons for this. First, I got a full-time writing job. And second, I had my heart broken, by EveryBlock.

When I first moved this blog from blogspot to the Windy Citizen, I did it because I was excited by the potential of a group blogging project. I wanted people to become involved with their communities, and I saw the Internet as a great way to do that. The Windy Citizen seemed ideal at the time, as people from all over the city could post to the site.

I was excited by the potential of people sharing informative links, posting pictures of lost pets, or organizing community-oriented projects with concerned neighbors. Thus, the Albany Park Post, where any one who wanted to, could technically share stuff with their neighbors.

I even used to go to beat 1713 CAPS meetings and write up summaries for those unable to attend.
I used to have late night gchat sessions with Brad Flora about how it would be cool if Windy Citizen was in every city, just so community members could engage in hyperlocal blogging and conversation. Patch wasn't around yet either (and yes, I also wrote for Patch...)

EveryBlock at the time was an automated data site. I checked it occasionally, to see if someone had purchased or renewed a lease, but I didn't find it that useful for my purposes.

I met one of the EveryBlock founders at a hyperlocal blogging conference, and like any naïve girl overly enthusiastic about community service, I gushed about the possibilities of the Albany Park Post, and blogs like it.

The listening ear found it oh-so-fascinating, and admitted that was one of the problems with EveryBlock; there is more to communities than automated data – word of mouth, and neighborly conversations are equally important. This, I already knew.

A shortish time later, EveryBlock got a face-lift.

Actually, it was completely revamped. Now neighbors could connect with one another. They could post links to news. They could post about lost pets. About clean-ups. Crime. Garage sales. New businesses. CAPS meeting recaps.

It was everything I told the listening ear about what I wanted to do with the APP, that I was already doing with the APP. 

The color scheme of the site was even the same

I smiled a lot, but as I saw more and more of APP readers move over to EveryBlock, and post what they used to post on my site, I cried a little inside each time.

My heart grew heavy with jealousy and anger.

I would have been happy to have been hired. Even as a community manager. But no offer came.

And I get it. I am just some dumb young blonde hipster girl who doesn't know how to apply for funding, so fine, steal my idea. Take all the credit for building this beautiful platform that fosters neighborhood activism.

EveryBlock, with its MSNBC funding, is so pretty and intuitive and easy to use – all the things the Windy Citizen is not.

Ultimately, my rage has subsided, which is how I can write this blog post today, because, my goal with the APP was to get people more involved with their neighborhood through electronic means.

Everyone is always harping against technology digitally dividing us, but Obama proved in 2008 that it can also connect us. (Yeah, I once told Swedish Covenant's Well Magazine that he was my inspiration for the APP.)

So in the end, it doesn't really matter whose product got neighbors more involved with their community, just as long as it happened. Or so I tell myself, because that is the person I want to be.

I am still bitter over the whole thing... but my desire to be involved with my community, the oh-so-troubled neighborhood that is Albany Park, has returned.

I don't know if I will be using EveryBlock that much, as from what I've read over the past couple of months, people who use it are borderline racists and/or whiny complainers.

As for this blog, I will not be posting anything I used to post, because people can do that now on EveryBlock. I will instead be focusing on what the Tumblr “Fuck yeah Albany Park” called “thoughtful commentary” about the neighborhood.

And whatever else I see fit to print.


  1. You picked quite a week to return to the local loco of Albany Park, my dear. Looking forward to reading and writing random musings soon, where ever they may post.