Counteracting the Blog Menace

For my money, the best article in the most recent Bacon’s Rebellion e-zine was Debbie Kurtz’s “Beware the Blog!” It’s “sponsored content,” a nice euphemism for an advertisement, but that makes it all the more noteworthy. Few ads are provocative op-eds.

As a disclaimer, I know Debbie Kurtz in passing. She’s a top-notch marketer and economic developer.

Anyway, Ms. Kurtz warns that bloggers might eat the lunch of the old-style, buttoned-down, message-controlling economic developer. All a prospect has to do is a google search and all sorts of “dirty laundry” about a community might appear, much of it from cause-espousing and/or truth-telling bloggers. The solution is to hire Ms. Kurtz’s firm to track blog activity.

While that’s probably a good idea and a smarter investment than some of the expensive print media economic developers buy, I would suggest that an additional measure would be for the economic development agency to have its own blog. Blogging is a wonderful way to focus on a community and all the diverse viewpoints it represents, as opposed to the one-dimensional sales approach most economic developers favor.

To a certain extent, Ms. Kurtz sees bloggers as “the enemy.” I would differ. If the rage in economic development now is feeding the “creative class,” what is a more creative force than bloggers? Many bloggers equals vibrant community, in my estimation. Richmond, for example, has a number of bloggers representing a variety of viewpoints on the city and region’s direction. Their creative conflict is a positive sign of interest in the future and a way for innovative ideas to surface.

How many bloggers are in Martinsville, debating that area’s future? There might be a message there.

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9 responses to “Counteracting the Blog Menace”

  1. Will, I don’t know about bloggers, but I do know that there are very active discussion forums at

    Let me tell you, they are NOT creating a great deal of glory for the community. It is a very divided, bipolar group.

  2. Will Vehrs Avatar

    Thanks for the link, Terry. I find message boards like that hard to follow, as opposed to a blog where someone’s thoughts can be traced chronologically. Maybe it’s my paradigm.

    In my brief survey, however, I didn’t see the Martinsville viewpoint equivalent of River City Rapids, Save Richmond, and One Man’s Trash, for example.

    Of course, I’m sure Richmond has its share of message boards with less than informative content.

  3. No, you don’t see the equivalent. On the other hand, I check the site most every day and follow certain threads…it has allowed me to develop a viewpoint based on multiple perspectives.

    Essentially, Martinsville Daily ( is a blog, but not the same as the Rebellion.

  4. You are right. It was hilarious.
    How much of it was due to ?

  5. Anonymous Avatar

    Yes, great job Debbie, you took the words, I mean concept, right out of the 11/14/05 issue of Forbes Magazine.

  6. Anonymous Avatar

    The bloggers and internet age are great for small communities like mine. I am in economic development as a one-person shop it was impossible for us to compete in the past against big cities who will negative recruit companies that we competed for. Now companies can find out everything about a community, or just about, by using the net. This levels the playing field and allows communities to be true to what they are.

    Economic development has changed fundamentally and for the better in part because of this I hope. Instead of trying to recruit all companies, companies and communities can now work on finding the right “fit” for both.

    Knowledge is power and the more that is out there helps companies, their employees, and their shareholders thus helping the whole economy in the end.

    Economic development is not, and cannot, and should not be about “controlling the information”. Be up front and you will end up with better projects and more productive relationships over the longterm.

  7. Zombies are coming for the brain of Debbie Kurtz.

  8. Wherever there is not the living human Debbie Kurtz. Wherever there is not the economic corridor solution. Might I not return from Tennessee to Grace Street and not be devoured by ugly trannys in clip-on-nails? Might not those nails still litter the alley behind Grace street like shells in the sand, glittering in the lamp light? Has Debbie Kurtz ever engaged in conversation with said tranny? Or walked a dog down Main circa 2 a.m. circa Church Hill? Or lived in Stupid-stupid, East Tennessee? Lower East Side, NY? Shitsville Ave. Jersey City, NJ. Has Debbie Kurtz ever in her life dreamt of zombies?
    Does Debbie Kurtz even know what it means to live in Richmond?

    My name is Clay Blancett and I am moving from Tennessee to Richmond and I aim to kick Debbie Kurtz in the ass when I arrive.

  9. Green-E-ville expat Avatar
    Green-E-ville expat

    Typical Greeneville, Tenn., response. I should know, I lived the horror.

    This is why the 11-E bypass is so dangerous, Tusculum Blvd. is scary and the brand new Rich Yankee performing arts center is hailed as the salvation of downtown.

    This is the place that thinks Andrew Johnson was the greatest President ever. They’ve even got a statue of him by the jail… like he’s makin’ a break for it.

    Be afraid, Richmond. Be very afraid.

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