Saturday, May 2, 2009

Blog Fatigue? Not Here..

"...A time to laugh..." -- Ecclesiastes 3:4

I just made three additions to the blog roll here. Though each of these blogs has been around for a little while, I've been reading each for a few weeks, and they are new additions to the list to your right. They are: Art is the Handmaid of Human Good, Lowell Shallot, and Mr. Mill City.

To anyone following the local blog scene, or just glancing at the roll here (most of which are local blogs) it could seem like we're at risk of facing blog saturation, or "blog fatigue." There are definitely plenty of blogs, and yes, it's probably easier to start one than to engage in any license-requiring activity such as driving a car, owning a firearm, or catching certain types of fish.

I don't think we're in any danger.

If you were to double the number of existing blogs without too many new variations on themes they already contain, then yes, I'd say we might be at risk of blog saturation -- the point at which there'd be too many to keep up with, they'd tend to mostly blend together, and you wouldn't be able to fit most of the city's blogatariat in the big kids' room at Cafe Aiello.

Each of the blogs you see on the right offers something slightly (or very) different from each of the others, with the main difference being the blog's coverage focus. Each has something unique that makes it stand out from all the others, whether it's depth and breadth of Lowell history and politics coverage (Richard Howe), national and world developing news coverage (Right-Side-of-Lowell), unique local sports and live music stuff (Choosing a Soundtrack), news for a specific neighborhood (LDNA blog), etc. Each offers a different flavor, and you can do a quick headline and lead glance by checking out Lowell Handmade. That takes about a second, and you can use it to steer you towards what you want while skipping over what you don't.

As for this blog, it's the only place you're going to get the perspective of a current military member, and it's the only one I know with a strict 'comment-to-the-comment' policy, born out of my frustration back when I was *just* a blog reader that someone takes the time to say something thoughtful about a post, but then you'd never see the author come back in kind, which always seemed like one of the things that could make blogs more interesting than traditional media. But besides, where else are you going to get a micro-essay on who should actually say thank you after a friend comes to visit for the weekend? (If you're curious, it's the person being visited who should offer gratitude, not the visitor...)

But anyway I digress -- back to the three new ones. What Lowell Shallot and Mr. Mill City have in common is that they do satire of the city -- everything from its ad campaign to its leaders to its reputation. That brings unique value, as no one else was really doing that in anywhere near as clever or as focused a way. I was talking with a bunch of Canal Place neighbors this morning and found there were several fans of these blogs; although there was some disagreement about which posts were funniest, we had real consensus about our appreciation for seeing satire in the local blogosphere. As to the question about whether certain city personalities seemed to be sitting in the crosshairs over at Lowell Shallot, it was also agreed that a) much of the content was legitimately funny, not just a bunch of pot shots, and that b) there was a certain "Saturday Night Live" effect to it, in that being spoofed is a compliment with an unstated but real statement about your status/stature.

Art is the Handmaid of Human Good also brings something unique to the table, with its recipes and very useful, down-to-earth tips on getting by on a budget. I know I've written on several occasions about my constant attempts to be more frugal and to cook more of my own food (and yes, those two would certainly go hand-in-hand), so I've found this blog to be a great source of practical information.

So, as a huge fan of the city's blogs, and someone who has found blogging to be a tremendously fun and rewarding experience over the past year or so, I'm going to continue to read each of the ones listed on this blogroll as much as possible. And as a lifelong fan of comedy, and as someone who swears that in another life he coulda/shoulda/woulda been a comedy writer, thanks to the anonymous authors of Lowell Shallot and Mr. Mill City for doing what you do.


C R Krieger said...

I wonder if there are any teenagers (or college kids) blogging in Lowell.  Or did I just miss that side of the blogosphere?

Regards  —  Cliff

Marianne said...

Thanks for the link and mention :-)

The New Englander said...


Hey, thanks for the food advice...I'm giving myself another three months to get my act together, but once I stop my long commutes I'll have no excuse to subsist off of Wendy's and New Great Taste Chinese food..



I can think of two cases of young people showing up on the blogs..the first would be RC Lations. He is with Audiopark, based out of UML and interested in bringing more live music venues for young people into Lowell (his blog is linked to Lowell Handmade). Also, Andrew Howe pops up from time to time on -- he is a college freshman..

..and then, of course, you've got your scores of teenagers who post myspace blogs about their personal lives and the unfairness of their parents, but I assume those ones don't count..


Lowell said...

Glad you're enjoying it. You have a new link to your site from