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Sunday, October 13, 2002

Dear Dave

Local reporter, columnist, journalist, writer, and good guy extraordinaire, Dave Bakke, goes looking for discussion on the Internet. See, SJR: Local Net discussion lacking. Actually, I don't know for a fact that he's a good guy. It's only a hunch I have from reading his columns.

Dave went trolling the Internet looking for locals. He thought it might be a good way to get in touch with what people are talking about and possibly get some ideas for stories. A noble quest, indeed. He didn't find what he hoped to find. Instead, he found,

two things in the time I have spent in this pursuit. One is that the local Internet bulletin boards are not worth reading. The other is that what little comment is there generally falls into the categories of inane, racist or sexually explicit.

What a disappointment.

Dave, Dave, Dave. I know just what you mean. I found the exact same thing and have totally given up on local message boards. And that's part of the reason I started this blog / journal / diary / thing / whatever.

Since I've been doing this, I found one other Springfield blogger. Ray Schroeder, a professor at the University of Illinois at Springfield, has his Techno-News Blog. He actually has two blogs. His other is geared towards Educational Technology. I don't know Ray, but I imagine he is an extremely busy person, and probably, for that reason, only posts news articles and not commentary. That, and he probably wants his students to discuss the articles instead of him discussing them. Well, yeah. I am hopeful that some of his students might start blogs to discuss the articles he posts. But, as yet, I haven't seen any sign of that. Maybe I'll give Ray a call this week to see what he thinks about his students starting blogs and interacting with the community at large.

In addition, I got my soon to be 19 year old daughter to start blogging. Hers, so far, is exclusively a personal blog about thoughts and feelings. Which is also good.

And, we might soon be getting a fourth Springfield blogger, if a certain someone gets back here from out east and gets going on it.

At one point I found a blogger in Champaign, but I have since lost track of him. He was a high school kid. I suppose he probably went off to college and gave up his blog. If there are other local bloggers, I haven't found them. Hey, I'd even settle for someone from Decatur. Jacksonville? Divernon? Oh yeah, I can't forget the Edwardsville bloggers. A very cool crew.

There's one message board Dave may have missed. Although, it's not entirely local. Capitol Grilling has been very good about letting Illinoisans hijack a little corner of their message boards for Illinois politics. The current discussion is Illinois Politics The Sequel. The conversation there is usually very intelligent and thought provoking. Of course, anyone from anywhere can post there. But, I personally have a sneaking suspicion that a few of them are from Springfield. Unfortunately, like with what Dave found, it's usually the same five or six people posting.

That reminds me, to some of us on the outside of the local newspaper, it looks like a lot of the letters to the editor are from the same five or six people, year after year.

Why don't more local people enter into discussions on the Internet? I'm not sure. It could be that there's some kind of apathy that pervades the Land of Lincoln. Perhaps apathy isn't the right word. But, until I find the right word, I'm going with it. Maybe it's the same apathy that keeps great rock concerts away from Springfield. Yeah, we have to go to Champaign, or Peoria, or St. Louis to see the likes of Cher, or Blue Oyster Cult, or Jerry Seinfeld. Well, Jerry's not a musician, but you know what I mean. Maybe it's the same type of apathy that tries to prevent a guy from creating 400 jobs in Springfield because some people just don't want all those cars driving around on their roads. Or, maybe it's the same type of apathy that keeps people away from school board meetings. I don't really know.

Internet discussion? What is it good for? And how can we get more people to jump into the pool? Build it and they will come?

In the meantime, my advice to Dave is don't give up in your search. The Internet is still young and there's a lot more to come. I think. I hope.

Posted by Marie at October 13, 2002 4:04 PM


Dave Bakke worked for (maybe the editor?)The Catholic Times and I read his editorial every week. I am very happy he is now working for sjr.

Posted by: katherine at October 13, 2002 10:16 PM

Hi Katherine. Are you back yet? Hope all is going well with you.

Posted by: Marie at October 14, 2002 10:54 PM

Just stumbled in here by near chance. Posted some commentary on Internet at my link below:

Posted by: Apollo Nine at March 27, 2003 12:59 PM