“Getting people to discuss and come together with ideas and explore new ones should be the ultimate goal.” D. William Jones Jr.
|Is that the face of a Negative Blogger?|
An interview with the C-City Blogger about his negative style.
Q: When did you become a negative writer?
A: I started the Chester Spotlight paper in 2006 to bring positive stories to Chester because everyone complained that all they read is negative stories in the Daily Times and other papers.
The first 6 or 7 issues were all good news stories. Accomplishments, special mothers and fathers, top Chester High graduates, business profiles, musician profiles, and youth sports.
Then I got a call from the Chester High tennis coach who was a middle school teacher. He wasn’t allowed to get out of school early to attend matches and the girls tennis team were bussed to matches with no adult supervision at away matches - no coaches, no parents - no one present to watch and protect them.
When I wrote that story, I got a lot of positive feedback. People were telling me that’s the type of stuff they wanted to read.
I never considered stories like that negative, but a lot of people do. However, no one ever responded to all the positive stories unless you were the one in the story.
To give the readers what they wanted, I started writing about the things that were not quite right and deserved some attention. Much of it came from complaints I heard from others on the streets. I don’t consider that negative, but for lack of another term, I’ve been labeled as a negative writer. I’m considered the bad guy.
A: A negative story attacks someone’s character and tries to get the reader to see that person as bad, ineffective, worthless. I’ve never done that. In my opinion, I’ve never wrote a negative story. I’ve never started a riot or suggested that anyone do anything criminal.
I may question what you do or the decision you make and ask why you do it, but I try to do it in a nice way. I try to give people the respect they deserve. And, this is a blog. You always have an open invitation to publicly respond.
Q: Why do people consider you negative?
A: People don’t like to be challenged and when they are challenged they consider it an attack. There are times when my assumptions are wrong based on what I read or hear. When I put it out there as a post, people consider that to be negative.
Q: If you don’t consider your writing negative, what is it?
A: Mostly it’s positive. It’s an opportunity for people to clarify their positions, statements, and decisions based on the prevailing opinions on the streets or in my head.
Q: How can you overcome your negative persona?
A: There’s nothing I can do. Through dialogue the perception can change.
It amazes me how I may write something about people and they don’t respond. By not responding they don’t seem to understand that those statements stand because there is no retort. It seems that it’s more important for them to make me look like the bad guy than for them to clarify their position on a topic to become the good guy.
Q: How can you convince people to reply to blog posts with their comments, positions, and decisions?
A: Sooner or later, local politicians, business people, and residents will begin to value the power of online communication with a audience that isn’t their ‘friend or follower’.
Government will share more press releases of things they do on a daily basis to prove that they are doing the work that we elected them to do. Business people will share the value they bring to community, and residents will buy into community journalism and share the photos and experiences they have around town.
Q: What value does the Chester City Blog bring to Chester?
A: This is one of the only community focused blogs in the country that is independently published. There is unlimited capacity to share community information from government, churches, schools, business, social agencies, sports, and more. With each piece of content that goes on the blog, people can discuss it with each other to offer suggestions, complaints or compliments.
I rarely publish crime stories as blog posts because people read that everywhere else. But everything else I post, if people take the time to respond, it can greatly improve the negative image of Chester from the people who are reading the blog from around the country.
Q: How does this blog help Chester?
A: There is no other outlet that broadcasts Chester issues across the Internet right from inside the city in near real-time. Hundreds of people subscribe to the blog. Hundreds more tune in on a daily basis. It’s an amazing audience hungry for Chester content.
Why locals don’t flood the blog with their programs and projects for that eager audience to consume demonstrates how a lot of people still don’t understand the value of blogs.
Q: List 5 things that can make the blog better.
- Create a Chester calendar of events. I created a calendar of events when I first started the blog and charged $1 for you to post your event no matter how long the event was posted. No one bought in.
- Respond and Comment. Silence is not golden, especially when you have the answer to an issue or correction to a post or comment.
- Share the Blog with others. More people from outside of Chester read the blog than Chester people. Share the blog with others. If your submissions, photos, and comments are being posted, share the content on Facebook and Twitter.
- Submit stories, photos, videos, comments. It’s the Chester City Blog and so many Chester people who know about it, avoid it. The blog will grow as the community gets involved. People decide not to get involved just as easily as they decide to get involved.
- Create your own voice on the blog. We post all submissions. The Daily Times named me ‘Blogger of the Week’ based on a submitted piece on Officer Avery. That is the ultimate proof that this blog is about you, not me.
Question to you. Am I really a negative blogger? If so, point out the blog posts that support it.