I don't see any point in joining the snarkfest that is unfolding on some blogs in the wake of the Wall Street Journal's highly critical article about LoudounExtra.com. But it does make me want to pass on some basic points that should be absorbed by anyone thinking about hyperlocal and citizen media.
Get this: 35 percent of all online teen girls blog, while only 20 percent of online teen boys do so, according to the latest report from the Pew Internet & American Life project. This comes as no surprise to me; I have two such female creatures in my household and it's something I can observe up close.
While I was traveling Backfence.com suspended operations, and now a lot of people are drawing conclusions, some publicly and some not. At the risk of further muddying the water, here are some of my own fairly random, jetlagged thoughts:
Lines from the past occasionally float to the surface. Here's one I have been thinking about lately: "OK open systems beat great closed systems every time."
That one came from Scott Kurnit around 1994-95, when he was VP/marketing for Prodigy. His company, originally a joint venture of CBS, Sears and IBM, had built a closed system (great in its day) that was in the process of getting its tail kicked by a bunch of little startup companies that run by people who had no clear idea where they were going.
These startups were pushing open standards: TCP/IP, HTTP, HTML.