Dear Ace: Recently, I was trudging through the so-called blogosphere and decided to do a search for “Charlottesville” on Blogger.com. I was astounded to
see over 60,000 results! Why so many Charlottesville blogs?—Ana Z. Webb
Dear Ana: Yes, the hippest media buzzword of 2004 has swept our fair city. Ace is not terribly fond of computers, nor they him—coffee and ashes are a bitch to clean out of a keyboard. But, since he loves saying the word “blog” so much (just try it: blog blog blog blog), he decided to take on your question.
The first thing to note about your staggering search results is that they include every blog that’s ever so much as mentioned the word “Charlottesville.” Confused Charlotte Bobcats fans, fake MySpace accounts created to dupe lonely schmucks into signing up for naughty websites; they’re all there. Still, there does seem to be a disproportionately high number of bloggers keeping track of the goings-on in our town. Ace hit the Web to find out why.
Loyal C-VILLE readers may recall our coverage of Waldo Jaquith dating back to 1995, when he was the only 16-year-old around offering Web-design services to such high-profile clients as the Dave Matthews Band. The wunderkind stuck around Charlottesville and stuck with the Web, and 11 years later, he’s likely the area’s premier blogger, with a hand in the catch-all blog aggregators VAPoliticalBlogs.com and CVilleBlogs.com. Ace chatted with Jaquith about our local blogosphere. By his count, there are 221 blogs in the area, but it’s hardly a set number—not one week after the election, the number of Charlottesville political blogs had dropped by 20, while other blogs with other themes sprout up every day.
But why so many? For one, many industries are increasingly reliant on blogs. Witness the number of bloggers who make daily appearances in traditional media—be it TV, radio or print—and the changing face of real estate, as seen with Charlottesville’s “Real Estate Zebra” blog. But, according to Jaquith, the real reason for local blog abundance may be the loads of literates in this town. He says, “We’ve got a lot of people with college diplomas, graduate degrees, and Ph.Ds, and that’s a group that’s more likely to have the time to maintain a blog and the income to own computers.” In other words, take a highly educated, politically active town, add technological savvy, mix well, and voilà: instant blogjam.