Posted by Philip Barash
in CLA Blog
I remember when blogs first appeared on the scene. Or, rather, I remember when I first became aware of them, which wasn't much later. I was working part-time as a marketing coordinator at a credit union while going to college. The credit union had just started an rfp process to replace its placeholder website with a full-featured one, and as I was the youngest staffer -- and probably useless in most other ways -- I was appointed to explore the still finite, almost cozy, environs of the early World Wide Web.
And there, at the outer borders of the Internet, among Multi-User Dungeons, the 3-d dancing baby, e-mail forwards from someone claiming to be "Bill Gates," and animated gifs, were Weblogs. Abbreviated familiarly as "blogs," these were musings and rantings of the fringe. Reading them was a little embarrassing, like coming across a "private" journal of a someone who hopes that it will one day be discovered and published. It was personal stuff written by angsty teenagers and scrapbooking retirees. It was confessional in tone and almost always poorly designed. It was, in a word, irrelevant. The rfp for website services that I later drafted made no mention of blogs as a possible or desirable feature.
Just how wrong was I? As it turns out, very. In the fourteen years that passed, blogs went from irrelevant to indispensable.
The launch of the Chicago Loop Alliance blog is exciting. The blog finally gives Chicago Loop Alliance a voice -- or perhaps many voices. It will be a choir of expertise and opinion, dialog and critique, inspiration and inquiry.
It will be a place to learn about important developments in our area and around the world. It will highlight industry sectors, including retail, dining, hospitality, technology, and culture, that are key to the area's continued prosperity. It will speak to residents and business owners. It will have plenty of room for fun, quirky lifestyle items. It will remind us of the neighborhood's identity, those narratives that make us who we are. And it will develop as we -- members, board, staff -- discover new uses, new topics, new ways of interacting with one another.
If there's one thing we know for certain about the blog, it is this: like the Loop itself, it will be a mixed-use destination.
CLA, blog, public, members, board, staff, SSA