Byline: Steve Foskett
COLUMN: IN THE NEIGHBORHOODS
All blogs have to start somewhere, and the Worcester Bloggers site fell out of the virtual sky with the post-Christmas snowstorm that blanketed the area.
"This is a blog started for Worcester Bloggers documenting a predicted Central Massachusetts blizzard on Dec. 26, 2010," the inaugural post proclaimed at 3:21 p.m. the day after Christmas.
After only a few hours the site got a few bites, and by that night Carrie Jo Saarinen's experiment in collaborative blogging was a moderate success. She said she toyed with the idea while she was getting her master's degree in education technology from Salem State University, but the project never got off the ground. But it was snowing out, and lots of people were probably at home, on or near their computers.
Since its launch, contributors have posted items that range from a nice photograph of some Christmas lights to documenting First Night Worcester activities and promoting local businesses. The windy storm seemed like a good opportunity for making some connections.
"I saw this storm coming," Ms. Saarinen said in a recent interview at Panera Bread on Gold Star Boulevard. "I had recently met group of bloggers here, and I figured I'd try this out, see if it has any legs, see if it can really work. Let's see if people are willing to contribute like this on the fly, just like a communal pool."
Several posters, including local blogging veterans Claudia Snell and Karl A. Hakkarainen, started sending in dispatches from their corners. Other contributors posted snowy pictures and weather updates from Spencer to Highland Street, Grafton Hill and Tatnuck. And that's exactly how it was supposed to work, Ms. Saarinen said.
With a site such as Posterous, which is designed to encourage collaborative blogging, several people can upload posts, including photos and videos, in seconds using the site's mobile Internet device apps.
Ms. Saarinen said she sent out invitations for authorized contributors by targeting active members of the Worcester blogging community.
"That's the whole beauty of it," Ms. Saarinen said. "You don't need to know special coding, you don't need special permissions, it's just so easy to share. With Posterous you have an app on your phone, you click a button, take video or picture, click `Post' and it's up in 10 seconds. If it's a video it takes a little bit longer."
There were some glitches. Not everyone who signed up to become a contributor wanted...