CarrboroCitizen: Better Late

Thursday, March 22nd, 2007

I bumped into the new CarrboroCitizen’s Taylor Sisk and Kirk Ross this morning at Carrboro’s Weaver St. Market. “Where’s the paper?”, I asked. Kirk said that more than 20 folks had already called him asking the same question “Where’s my paper?” Well, they had a few bumps on the road to their premier issue. All’s well, though, as the first content ladened and ad packed edition hit the bricks.

By 3:28pm the papers started appearing around Carrboro – at “the Weave” (inside by the cash registers), at the Orange County Social Club, hand-delivered by Mary Beth to her customers, tossed in the drive of the first 18 home subscribers (all signing up early by “word of mouth”).

I like the CarrboroCitizen’s home delivery model – “don’t ask, don’t get”. The first few times I called Ted Vaden, who ran the Chapel Hill News, was to complain about the 3 or 4 copies of each edition showing up in our drive. We lived on the corner of Wyrick and Barclay, sharing a house with another apartment. For some reason the U-shaped drive attracted multiple deliveries – one of which was sufficient (my neighbors usually pitched the paper directly into the recycling bin or, rarely, used it to scrape up the dog poop along Barclay). I thought about that when I was writing the “My View” column for the Chapel Hill News: just how many of my columns went straight to scraping poop up off the roadway?

What a year for Kirk Ross, the editor of the CarrboroCitizen. I’d run into Kirk a few times over his many years in Town, and though he is a friend of my brother Steve, never really talked with him at length. That changed last year when we both camped out at my brother’s house during SxSWi 2006. Over the week we talked about new media, citizen journalism, citizen activism, developing a brand as a journalist, leveraging the wisdom and interests of the community to better our community, newspapers – living, dying, lost and in-limbo, music, Austin’s “scene”, BBQ Texas-style, politics (lots and lots of politics – local, state and national) and, along with ae [arsepoetica] and her boy-toy db, the incredible Las Manitas.

Coincidentally, it was that same week that CitizenWill really got started.

I think he was casting about for a new direction, a new vibe. I had a few conversations with him since about his developing “brand”. Over the last year he’s traveled the State reporting back via the Cape Fear Mercury, kept his finger on the fibrillating pulse of our somewhat nutty North Carolina legislature via his Exile On Jones Street ‘blog, continued to publish at his former gig – the Indy – and, now, not only help create a new Carrboro newspaper from scratch but inverted current conventional wisdom – using the paper’s ‘net content to deliver a physical product.

Wow! A bold experiment worth the support of the Carrboro community. Congratulations and good luck guys, the news keeps on rolling and you only have 147 hours, 21 minutes until the next edition is due.

SxSWi: Inciting Self-Organizing Mobs for Local Progressive Activism

Tuesday, October 10th, 2006

I submitted a panel proposal for Austin’s South-by-Southwest Interactive (SxSWi) 2007 titled Inciting Self-Organizing Mobs for Local Progressive Activism

Educated and opinionated, netizens are a fractious bunch. Rarely does on-line irritation translate into “real-world” local activism. With the proliferation of no-cost, net-based infrastructure and the power of the “long tail”, why do so few arm themselves on-line to battle off-line? Or even run for office? Join us in discussing how to rouse your local mob, tap their collective wisdom and promote progressive change.

SxSW is a combined music, film and new media technology (‘blog, vlog, podcast, social networks, etc.) conference spread over nearly two weeks. Local ‘bloggers Ruby, Kirk, ae, Fred, Henry went last year and, I believe, there was total agreement that it was fantastic.

SxSWi organizers have setup a system to let the public at large vote (10 at a time) which panels they’d like to see. I’ll be headed down South next March in any case – working on a panel, though, would be gravy.

Here’s the link if you want to help select the 140+ featured panels.

Voting ends ominously Friday, October 13th.

By the way, Fred has a proposal titled The Long Tail of Identity:

As we embrace social technology, the consequences of sharing our identities on the web are unknown. How will our social network profiles or weblogs affect our future possibilities? Does a search engine or archive really have the final say about who we are online? In the panel, we’ll discuss practical and theoretical approaches to online identity management, how our identity is perceived, and what innovations are serving our yet-to-be-defined identity needs.

SxSW 2006 – ae represents!

Wednesday, May 3rd, 2006

The ratings for the 2006 South By Southwest Interactive panels are out.

Local ‘blogger ae, of arsepoetica fame, led the blogHer sponsored panel Increasing Women’s Visibility on the Web: Whose Butt Should We Be Kicking?

Score? 5.0 of 5.0!

Local ‘blogger ruby, of OrangePolitics and LotusMedia fame, kicked some butt with a highly respectable 4.32.

Ruby got kudos for her performance, besting fellow presenters DailyKos’ Markos Moulitsas and RedState’s Mike Krempasky.



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