Earlier this year I interviewed blogger Mike Atkinson, who launched Parwich.org in 2008. I wanted to get a feel for how the reality of hyperlocal blogs compared with the perception (there are other interviews to follow). Here are his responses:
Who were the people behind the blog, and what were their backgrounds before setting it up?
Local villagers (current team is six people), differing backgrounds and interests. I’ve been blogging since 2001 (my personal blog was one of the better known UK blogs in the first half of the decade, and was shortlisted for a Bloggie award), but the others had no prior blogging or website management experience. Most had never even read a blog before.
What made you decide to set up the blog?
Official reason: to promote the fund-raising activities for our proposed Memorial Hall rebuild. We needed to provide evidence to potential funders that we were an active self-organised community, and this seemed like an idea vehicle. Also, we could offer promotion for funding bodies in our Sponsors section on the blog sidebar, which might have been an added inducement for them.
But speaking personally, as the person who first suggested the blog, I simply wanted the blog to help foster and maintain a sense of community in a village whose resources at the time felt under threat – and I wanted to give us an effective voice when presenting ourselves and our concerns to the outside world. Continue reading