I should have known better than to take the call of East Bay Express writer Rachel Swan, who was writing an article that not only looked narrowly at Oakland bloggers who were given awards for blogging on the Oakland Mayor’s Race (not so much local issues), but seems to say that because many of the bloggers Swan and Bob Gammon (who had this idea), pointed to (Aimee Allison, Debby Richman, Echa Schneider, Jonathan Bair, Rebecca Saltzman, and me, Zennie Abraham) were less active (except for me) then the WHOLE DAMN OAKLAND BLOGOSPHERE was “Withering.”
But I took the call out of trust. The trust that what I took time to tell Ms. Swan would actually wind up in print. But that never happened. I scanned the article and found the expected EBX slant that told me both Swan and Gammon had wrote a document that bends the truth so much it’s unrecognizable.
The fact is the award was more from Oakland District Four Councilmember Libby Schaaf, than from the League Of Women Voters, and it was directed to bloggers who Libby knows and who’s friends with, including myself.
Because I was in New York for the 2011 NFL Draft, I could not attend the April 26th luncheon, and asked Oakland Local’s Susan Mernitt to accept the award in my absence for two reasons: first because she’s done a great job in building her blog site, second because Susan wasn’t someone Libby knew at the time, and I knew that her attendance at the luncheon ‘as me’ would change that. So Susan stood in for me.
Because of its design, I consider Oakland Local to be as much of a blog as any one of the other Oakland Blogs and that’s true for Oakland North too. In fact, Oakland North uses a WordPress blog platform, which makes it, well, a blog. But Swan forgot about them. She also forgot about Davey D (how?!), TD Love, Living In The O, and Occupy Oakland Tribune, to name some of them. (Susan’s got a full, good list of them here.)
Swan and Gammon were so focused on this bullshit, group read-and-fuck, exchange of like-minded ideas view they’re not even aware of themselves, they could not see the bigger picture: that there are a lot more active blogs and bloggers in Oakland than their narrow focus reveals. Plus, if Swan was at the luncheon, which she was not, she would know that Susan picked up my award for me.
What I told Swan was that I’m not in the business of blogging for free – we make money via ad revenues and sponsor fees. I also talked at length about the YouTube Partner Program, of which I’m one of the first participants. That was not mentioned in the article at all, and it took away what could have been a teachable moment for many, not to mention stop some micro-small number of questions about how all this works for me.
But that didn’t get in – all that did was Swan’s weird little line about my Oakland Focus blog having pop-culture content, when I told her that I don’t support the idea of hyperlocal media – from a business standpoint, it’s stupid. People, even in Oakland, search more for national and international and pop stories than local content, so you have to have both, and a good dose of sports.
I called the East Bay Express and asked them never to call me again. I meant it and I mean it. Why bother talking to me, if they’re going to avoid including my comments?
I know where all this came from. It came from the 2011 Oakland City Council Inauguration, where Bob Gammon was sitting two seats from me and hah-hahing when Libby made the comment that Oakland bloggers work for free. In my case he was correct to laugh, and I suspected he might do something in the way of an article, but got Swan to do it because he didn’t want to talk to me. (Bob is still smarting from the time I got after him for attacking Marcie Hodge during the Oakland Mayor’s Race and in a way that to a number of Oaklanders seemed racist. I only said out loud what many other blacks were thinking.)