Originally posted on August 11, 2009.
It’s time to sit down with our readers and discuss where we think our little blog is going. Actually, it’s not that little any more. We started out in October 2007 and for the first six months we averaged a little over 2100 visitors a month.
Now, as we near our second anniversary (October), we’ve reached nearly 23,000 visitors a month. Check out the graph below which shows our monthly visitors for the last year. It’s obvious that we are growing and that our readership from OB is expanding. We feel we have a strong community base, solid legitimacy and a genuine acceptance by the residents and businesses of our seaside neighborhood.
So, in grappling with the fact of our growth, becoming more aware of the trends in online versus print publications across the nation, we find that the OB Rag is on the cutting edge of online neighborhood platforms. If you’ve checked the media scene lately, it’s getting obvious that changes are indeed coming. Community-based citizen journalism is going to be an important part of the future of mass communication.
The Recent Poll About OB Rag’s Direction
In fact, we are no longer simply a “blog”. We have morphed into a news and commentary platform for Ocean Beach … and beyond. We just took a poll of our readers and asked them what they’d like to see in the future for our website. Here’s the results:
- I think the mix of OB and other news is good the way it is now.
- I would like to see more OB church and OB sports stories and news.
- I would like to see OB news and issues exclusively.
- More regional and San Diego news and stories.
- I’d like to see more international news and issues.
Total Votes: 70 Started: July 27, 2009
Even though our readership is from across the country and world-wide (see the map above), we have been focusing on news, issues, interests and the people of OB. We recently brought on board a gaggle of new bloggers, writers, and citizen journalists. This new group of wonderful, down-to-earth writers have given our platform new breadth and depth, adding new styles and perspectives.
Not only that, but our new bloggers have taken on other community tasks, such as cleaning up graffiti and the mess left from the July 4th Marshmallow fight, and being watchdogs – looking out for the community. Our bloggers are becoming genuine leaders in this community through their actions. Our website has also been providing historical coverage of OB issues, like planning and police relations.
Taking on Ads
One of the important things that you need to know, is that up to now, this has not been a money-making operation – outside of donations, T-shirt and old Rag sales – and while barely breaking even dollar-wise, the personal benefits have been huge.
In order to keep expanding this website we need to build a steadier stream of financial support. Taking on ads will allow us to continue to grow and we think that OB businesses and orginizations will support us. And hey! If you’re interested in placing an ad with us let’s talk!
Changes to the Format
In order to carry ads, we need to alter our format slightly, adding a fourth column. We hope to have this new style up online in the coming weeks. We will continue to publish our “Weekly Poll” and the “Latest Chatter” from the comments, as well as the standard feature article accompanied by the two columns of posts. Most of the changes will be small and implemented gradually, knowing many of our reader appreciate the uncluttered look and easy to read format here.
Appeal to OB: We need an office, desk, or space in the business district
In order to carry out what we hope are the positive changes, we want to have an obvious presence on Newport Avenue or at least within the business district of Ocean Beach so we are making an appeal to our readers and supporters: We need a desk or some office space we can call ours somewhere in the OB Business District. Please, if anybody has anything to offer or ideas, contact us via our email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The OB Rag is becoming the online news publication for and of Ocean Beach. Help us to continue in this role. As always, your comments and suggestions are greatly appreciated.
Frank, Patty and Doug