LA. blogs. controversy.

Monday, January 26, 2004, at 08:58PM

By Eric Richardson

Over the past few days a bit of a controversy has errupted in the ranks of LA bloggers. LA.com is a new big money backed city guide site, and part of their site is a blog LA.comfidential. LAvoice.org posted a pretty scathing review. This led to an article at LA Blogs. blogging.la got drawn into the whole thing too, formulating a linking policy in response to LA.comfidential pointing to several blogging.la posts in a row. Whew... What a web...


Particularly interesting to me are the comments to both the LAvoices.org and LA Blogs stories. I found the backlash against a corporation trying to enter the sort of LA blogging circle fascinating. If you read through the comments on LA Blogs, you'll find that in the midst of the thread the identity of the LA.comfidential blogger turns out to be Brian Flemming, a local indie writer, director, etc. Even though the bloggers up in arms have nothing against Brian, they still don't warm to his role as blogger for a corporate site. Because his primary objective -- whether he intends it to be or not -- is to drive eyeballs to his site's advertisers, the blogging community sort of eyes him at a distance and is reluctant to treat him as they would another blogger.


All of this matters to me because of a paper I'm writing right now. Instead of looking at a physical location, I'm examining "LA bloggers", by which I mean not just people writing from LA, but more specifically people who structure their online discourse around their location. When the Internet was in the exploding dotcom stage, I don't remember such an emphasis on geographical location as I see these days. Now you have GeoURL, LA-specific Buzznet galleries, and all of the LA blogging meta sites I linked to above.


Now my job is to put all of this together. What significance do LA blogs have? Why is it important to these people to tie their online experience to their physical locale? How is their interaction with the Internet framed by the audience they see themselves writing for? Is it solely an LA audience? So many questions...