An FAQ about All the Difficult Questions of Blogging in DC

With a slight update: March 28, 2012.

DCBlogs is five years old now seven years old (March, 2005) so it’s time to answer a few things. Over time, on no certain schedule, I’ll offer a little history and observations about blogging in DC. What follows is entirely my opinion about this world– KOB

1. What do Chia Pets and bloggers use alike?

Click here for the answer.

2. What is the oldest continuously published blog in DC?

It may be Mean Louise, who has archives extending back to 1999. I asked Mean Louise about the possibility that she may be running the oldest continuing blog in the District. She also pointed me to a former DC blogger as another possibility, but who writes today about his sheep farm in Vermont. Mean Louise is a very witty writer and longtime favorite.

3. Who wrote the Best. First. Post. Ever?

In a time when blogging was still seen as revolutionary, one of the best was James, the first writer of why.i.hate.dc. He began his blog with what amounts to an anthem on March 28, 2003.

This blog will contain the various reasons I hate living in Washington, D.C. There may be no rhyme or reason to my rantings, and likely no suggestion for how to solve the problems I have with the city and metro area. Frankly, my dear, suck on it.

That post focused this blog like few others and after James left other writers, including the excellent work by its last writer, David, continued the mission. The blog recently shut down.

Update March 28, 2012: The majority of new blogs are about food, personal sports, fashion, nightlife and shopping. Many of the mainstream blogs, the ones that attract advertising, operate mostly as comment farms. These blogs aren’t interested in original reporting or in challenging the powers in the District.

Even the thoughtful blogs, which mostly write about planning, transportation and things that only matter to their urban personal lifestyles, focus on reasonableness instead of outrage.

Blogging has always been fundamentally self-indulgent, but it was never meant to be tiring.

This criticism isn’t aimed at the personal bloggers. There are many bloggers who write about their lives and our times and deliver stinging critiques about our world. They are a gift to this community. This is about the bloggers that seek a broad audience and commercial reward based on content that is increasingly uninspired or enterprising. They know who they are.

One of the best bloggers ever in the District was Washingtonienne, whose work, with the passage of time, looks today more like genius in explaining how twisted Capitol Hill really is. Washingtonienne’s sheer boldness was inspirational to this blogging community in ways it has never been given credit for.

Perhaps blogging has been absorbed by mainstream media. In its short, failed attempt TBD did its best to homogenize the community. The Washington Post taps local bloggers for editorial-lite content and is gradually trying to dull down the blogging community. (Remember the days when the Washington Post was a target for criticism by local bloggers? Now the community seems mostly interested in sucking up to it.)

Blogging will get a refresh. Something new will emerge. Revolutions begin anew.

4. Should you tell your coworkers about your blog?

Why not? You may need a job change.

5. But how many people have been fired because of blogging in DC?

I don’t know how many have been fired for blogging, but people have been fired. Some have blogged about the experience. See this post, circa 2006, the cost of free speech.

Many workplaces have internal blogs. Be careful what you post. For instance, if you work at one of our local spy agencies try to avoid criticizing some of its customer services, such as waterboarding.

6. Has the risk of getting fired for blogging declined?

I think so. Even your boss may now blog or Facebook and be at equal risk of public humiliation.

7. Are there more bloggers in DC than in other cities?

I don’t know, but there are indicators. DC may be leading the nation in one area that’s important to many bloggers and writers generally. A blogger who moved from California to DC had this to say about her new home:

This town may be conservative (in its DRESS), but it is very liberal when it comes to its alcohol. There is always booze to find in this town, if you know where to go. For example, many of my friends who have been to Capitol Hill for parties have told me all about how there is so much booze that you’d go nuts. My roommate Cecily had $200 worth of fine wine for free at a wine bar last night (I have heard that they’re getting more common). Drinking at the Nationals game on Saturday night was very much encouraged, and I have never seen so much beer offered around in all my life. For a cocktail party my mentor is throwing, the invitation read “OPEN BAR! OPEN BAR! OPEN BAR! – June, 2005. Ms Reina goes to Washington

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To be continued.

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