Saturday, January 29, 2011

Loudoun Blogs and Bloggers - the List

Welcome to the 2011 Loudoun County Blog Roundup! (a.k.a. the "Loudoun B-List")Loudoun County residents, businesses and government officials are actively participating in the blogosphere, and 2011 is probably going to be a very busy time for the local digerati – as the County Board of Supervisor’s election heats up and we’re treated to a short-lived deluge of earnest, partisan constituent support online.

We’ve been blogging and critically evaluating local use of blogs and other social media channels like Facebook and Twitter by media, marketing, business and government publishers for quite a while now. We’ve seen the rise and fall of the LoudounExtra and its accompanying bloggers, the rise and fall of political and real-estate driven online chatter (driven by election cycles and the economy), the closure of blog-worthy material generated by past media hounds at the Independent, Observer and Easterner, the LCVA-driven introduction of Loudoun on the national stage of the SoMe destination marketing industry, and lately a rapid influx of hybrid social/syndicated hyperlocal blog/news platforms via the Patch and TBD networks – though each of these, as we speak, continue to struggle with their advertising and revenue models.

A few blogrolls and bloglists were created along the way, but most now reflect aged or inactive listings, and don’t adequately showcase the more popular and active bloggers in and about the County (FYI to our friends at Leesburg Today and the Washington Post). It may be, however, that the definition of “blog” is unclear, with all manner of social media channels, services and widgets infringing upon and taking liberties with the classic definition of a “Web 2.0” site. For simplicity purposes, we’ll define a public blog as demonstrating these characteristics:
  1. It’s written by writers, mostly with original, authentic, non-edited and casually-attributed content
  2. It’s written for people, to read, consider and react to
  3. It gives more than it gets, on a fairly regular basis – mostly a volunteer effort, though many times lightly compensated
  4. It best takes a few paragraphs to get to the point, or finish the thought
  5. It accepts and engages commentary, but doesn’t necessarily solicit it
  6. It doesn’t claim to be journalism, but sometimes it truly is
  7. It’s not about the media types included, but about the message or value they contain
  8. It’s a time-based, reflective record of a social community
  9. It usually exhibits personality, or personalities
  10. It’s actually a website, with the navigation, graphics, scripts and embedded links/content that reveal interactive context and authority
  11. It’s findable, i.e. indexed by Search Engines, and without login requirements

So, a blog is not a discussion board, group or wiki, or an eCommerce website with product feedback, it’s not a daily update of local real estate listings or coupon deals (unless accompanied by witty and useful commentary), it’s not Twitter Tweets or Facebook Posts, it’s not news or newsletters, industry or education articles, it’s not predominantly marketing or conversational content, it’s not press releases and it sure isn’t an auto-syndicated collection of posts-for-hire strictly for generating inbound pagerank and embedding paid contextual links. That’s really what a blog is, it’s honest commentary, opinionated or not, successful or not, stupid or not.

Speaking of social media relatives of the classic blog, here’s a nice list of other Loudoun-centric social media channels from LocoMusings...From the number of older blogs no longer active (at least 20 good ones were deleted from this list, as no longer active, as of last year), yet the fast-growing number of Facebook/Twitter threads, it’s apparent that the short-form blog format is quickly overtaking the more traditional long-form...very apparent in the 2nd half of last year. Also check out Loudoun News Twitter, a hand-curated collection of real-time Loudoun news.

Face it, tweeting or Facebooking from your iPhone is SO much easier, convenient and with more instant gratification (like!) than thinking of, and writing, a big ‘ol blog entry – and then moderating the comments, deleting the spam...Is the art of blogging, like the art of journalism, falling prey to to the "Like" generation?

There are many useful, helpful, interesting and truly blog-worthy blogs in and about Loudoun County – we read and follow a bunch, and we’ve culled more from lists maintained by the newspapers (like the Loudoun Times), the libraries (like LoudounPedia), other Bloggers, Blogging communities (like ActiveRain) and so forth.

Here’s what we consider, at this time, to be a pretty definitely list of Loudoun County blogs. They’re categorized broadly as makes sense to us and reflect the relative maturity of the social media interest groups in the County. A critical factor for inclusion is activity; if the blog hasn’t been updated yet this past Fall or Winter, it’s probably not on the list (there are many, many blogs about Loudoun that were good, but petered out over the years – yet remain indexed by Google).

Another critical factor is whether the blog actually INCLUDES the word and/or concept of “Loudoun”, vs. simply being a blog from someone or some business IN Loudoun (i.e. Loudoun County, VA, vs. Loudon TN/NH or the recently closed Loudoun Castle Theme Park at Loudoun Castle Estate in Scotland).

Please let us know of other blogs that should be on the list – we’ll update and/or correct by Spring.

Loudoun Community Blogs (About an area or community)

Gateway to Loudoun County – a Dulles South business and community original blog, over 6 years and counting!
Living in Loco - one of the original Loudoun bloggers, undergoing some revitalization (looking forward to more, Tammy!)
Brambleton - a local Loudoun Times citizen journalist
River Creek and Lansdowne - really nice detail from this community
South Riding – regular bits n’ pieces from two South Riding moms
Sterling, Cascades, Countryside - Kathie's take at the Times
Every Restaurant in Leesburg – still going strong, up to #106
BrambleDirt – was fun before, seems to be back
Brambleton View - from Brambleton

Loudoun Life and Lifestyle Blogs

Community of Faith – Religious Observations at the Times
Loudoun Essence - Featuring the happenings of Loudoun's African American community ...
Odd Angles - monthly perspectives on life in Loudoun
Equality Loudoun – GLBT community and advocacy in Loudoun
Mommy Life - Montessori megamom serves up smorgasbord of parenting, cultural, political, and spiritual wisdom. And a few affiliate links, for the college fund.
Loudoun County Traffic – regular updates near the #1 worst traffic region in the Nation!
Viva Loudoun - Loudoun’s #1 source for High School/Prep Sports, News, Views
Loudoun Wildlife - "People and wildlife living in harmony – like with owls"
Loudoun Landscapes - Dave Levinson, Loudoun Landscape Photographer extraordinaire
Allergy Life in Loudoun - current, relevant, informative
Loudoun Moms' Network – hmm, 1 post so far, but more to come on this theme? (now that the The MomLink and LoudounMoms have retired)
Dulles District – some sports, some comments from Dulles
The Piedmont Virginian – pure Loudoun country
Sustainable Loudoun - local environmental stewardship, but is it petering out?
Loudoun Voice "Promoting renewable energy and sustainable policies." – Hopefully more active this year, as in the past, Mr. Eaves…
Ashburn Patch and Leesburg Patch - the patch editors and columnists are an interesting bunch, with blog-worthy Loudoun material and personally-flavored news commentary, though somewhat compensated...
Musings over a Pint...of beer
Loudoun Arts Council - really, arts in Loudoun
Bike Loudoun - Better bicycling in Loudoun County (when there's no snow)
Look Good Loudoun - Absolutely!

Loudoun Real Estate Blogs

Gina's Blog - a mix of modern mom and realtor
Loco Musings – Heather's mix of modern mom, realtor and social media award-winner
Loudoun Scene – another award-winning real estate digerati…
The Real Estate Bakery – Ashburn-centric NOVA real estate
Helena's Blog – well, keeps the news current, but the blog’s aging quick
Tanya's blog - on Loudoun living
Sonja's blog - on real estate in eastern Loudoun (it’s aging…!)

Loudoun Political Blogs

Democrats

Leesburg Tomorrow – and today, for the progressives
Loudoun Democrats - well, we’re gonna remove this from the blogroll, unless it starts including posting dates...
Mole's Progressive Democrat – newsletter issue 286, six years and counting
Loudoun County for Obama – "Sorry, the blog you were looking for does not exist. However, the name loudouncountyforobama is available to register!" (it’s not too soon!)
Loudoun Progress, Doorbell Queen and Without Supervision (Without Supervision) - the Millers et. al

Republicans

Too Conservative - absolutely
Not Larry Sabato – at all
NOVA Common Sense - the newest GOP entrant
Novatownhall Blog – "Take it over and shut it down"
Hoodathunk - Mental Wanderings of a Common Man

Others, Unaffiliated, Independent

Big Loudoun - Lisa and Barbara take on the big cause(s)

Official or Government-affiliated Blogs

Visit Loudoun Blog (a.k.a. "DC’s Wine Country") – by far the 2nd best representative of Loudoun in the blogosphere! (well, we said it on THIS blog, after all...) Thanks Jeremy and company!
Our Loudoun Schools – Excellent and semi-official perspectives on Loudoun Schools from John Stevens
Becoming a Firefighter – Leesburg volunteer Fire Company #1, online
Loudoun Career Fire Fighters – IAFF Local 3756
Sterling Volunteer Fire Company – make a donation!
Loudoun Education Association - Loudoun Teachers

Business/Commercial Blogs

Made in Loudoun - highlighting Loudoun businesses and the business scene
Backstory - the #2 social media-connected business journalist/blogger in Loudoun
Loudoun B and B - Loudoun Bed and Breakfast Gild – off to a great start!
The DogDish - up and coming activity from our new Minor-league baseball team.
Briar Patch - Nibbles n’ Bits from the Briar Patch
Patty Schuchman Photography – nice Loudoun photographs!
Chester Records – Winchester’s own version of Tower Records
Families First of Loudoun - birth, children, families, couples, seniors, and health and wellness...all at once
Conference Center Blog - from the National Conference Center, experimenting in social media (you go, Kurt!)
Loudoun LinkedIn Group – because it’s ours, and it’s sortof like a blog...
Notaviva Vineyards News – a truly social Loudoun vineyard and graphic design shop - kudos Steve!
Wine Compass – all the wine fit to print
The Loyal Local - Local deals, specials, finds
Every Restaurant in Leesburg - Like it says...
Chapple Flowers - for weddings, special events, etc. in Loudoun
The Restaurant at Patowmack Farm - from farm, to table, to blog, as LCVA puts it
Corcoran Vineyards - by Lori
Lansdowne Resort - Blogging and golfing
BTI Whitewater - where's the snow tubing blog entry?
Loudoun Dental Smiles - Dental doings in Loudoun

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10 Comments:

Anonymous Jeremy Harvey said...

Thanks for the shout out Ted! On this list, we love being 2nd best! ;D

2:13 PM  
Anonymous Jonathan Bunn said...

Thanks for mentioning my site! The only bad part is that you believe that I am a Steelers fan! I am a die hard Skins fan. That was more of a super bowl post. Thanks again!
Jonathan Bunn
www.TheRealEstateBakery.com

4:48 PM  
Blogger T said...

Well, something smelled like Pittsburgh...all righted, now.

6:54 PM  
Blogger Sarah Vining said...

Sarah Vining manages all social media for The National Conference Center. Thanks for the mention!

11:03 AM  
Blogger LookGoodLoudoun said...

Would you mind including my Loudoun-related blog?

http://lookgoodloudoun.blogspot.com

Thank you! This is a great resource.

9:18 AM  
Blogger T said...

Looking good, for sure!

3:02 PM  
Anonymous Matt Coughlin said...

I have a couple that I'd love to get on the list:

www.brightideablog.com and
www.davidsongroupcpa.wordpress.com

11:57 AM  
Blogger T said...

So, those last 2 aren't about Loudoun, or highlight Loudoun-centricity really at all, so don't classify as "Loudoun Blogs" (in my opinion, at least) ... though I can appreciate some benign comment spam in the name of link-building for an SEO client.

7:26 AM  
Anonymous Hannah Hager said...

I just came across this and appreciate you anointing me as the number 2 social media business blogger after you. I just chuckled, haha!

5:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm just trying to find a website that can actually show real people's ratings of popular and healthy and "worth-it" restaurants in the broadland/ashburn/lansdowne area. An example is Mezza Mediterranean Grill or something.

11:38 AM  

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