Tuesday, December 21, 2010

BlogBack #6: When I Ranted About City Issues That Almost None Of My Readers Would Care About (Or So I Thought)

For the most part, I keep my subject material on this blog away from overly personal material. There is some major exceptions on this blog, but I made the decision at the beginning that I'd try to keep the majority of my material relevant and interesting to as large of a reader base as possible. I usually only resort to personal material when I either believe it will be worthwhile for a large portion of my readers, or I can't think of anything else to write that day (which believe it or not, is something that really can and will happen to me). The city I live in has a population a little under 100, 000 (or a littler over, depending on who you're listening to), which means there is a good chance a large portion of my readers have either never heard of the city (home of Wayne Gretzky and telephones and far too many coffee shops!) or quickly forget it after hearing about it. Even though the news of my city isn't completely personal information, the majority is about as interesting to you as my midnight melted cheese covered pickle cravings or Crosby's litter using habits (which is quite regular, thank you very much). So, I avoided talking about my city for many years, until this past winter when an issue so major took place that it was even covered in the Toronto Star. Today's BlogBack spotlighted post is Uh oh, Big Brother Toronto Noticing Brantford's Skirmishes at the Kiddie Table, aka Opinions and Observations on Brantford's Downtown Debate.

There was essentially three major reasons that I decided to write about the issues that were happening in Brantford's downtown during the first half of this year.

1. I believed it was actually really important news that a lot of people were unaware. At the time, there was major players in Brantford that were threatening to destroy some of the oldest buildings in all of Canada. Not only old buildings, but places that actually had a very rich history. In my opinion, this was an event that was much bigger than the city of Brantford, and worthwhile information for other people to know. Admittedly it was information that was being presented with my slant, and so my readers would also have to read other sources to get a more well rounded view so they could form their own opinions (though I encouraged that with any important news item). I hope by now that people have realized this is a blog and not a newspaper, so you're bound to be getting more opinion pieces rather than news articles. I do think that within these opinion pieces, there is the opportunity to make people aware of valuable information. There is also the great opportunity for debate and discussion. Actually, this post along with a few of my other posts about the Brantford downtown, led to some interesting discussion on this blog and also via e-mil and in person. I'm glad that I was able to reach my goal of informing readers who otherwise would have likely remained oblivious to this rather major issue.

2. For the most part a lot of the outside sources were misreporting the specifics of what was going on. Actually, even the Brantford Expositor had a fairly slanted presentation of what was happening and being discussed downtown. There was fairly big articles written about the downtown debate in the National Post, Toronto Star, Hamilton Spectator and Globe and Mail. I felt they were all good pieces, but also believed either pertinent information was left out or it was being misrepresented. This motivated me to write the piece as a rebuttal. I recognized this post was going to get far less readers than all of the above mentioned publications, but I did hope that if the issues was deemed important enough, I'd catch a few extra Google hits. If I was able to give another view to a few concerned readers, then I felt a job was well done. It did my heart good to know that at one point this article along with a few of my other downtown posts were some of the highest viewed in my blog's history.

3. It was written for cathartic reasons as well. I was completely frustrated and annoyed with how the downtown buildings were being presented to the public. I felt the people who were spearheading the buildings' demolition were going about things dishonestly. To me, it seemed like a very shortsighted solution to a problem that needed far more discussion and debate. The most frustrating part was that the community was largely being ignored and just being told what would be good for them. I needed to rant, and I hoped the rant then could also be used as a way to inform. I had talked about the downtown with a lot of people in this city, and it was amazing how ill informed many of the people were. I hoped the posts would be my chance to let others know the lies and misinformation that was being spread. It was one of those circumstance that I was able to do some venting, while also serving a bigger purpose.

I accomplished all three of those goals, but I also learned something from the experience. It was the discovery that far more readers are interested in the events of my little city than I first believed. Almost every blog post I ever did about Brantford either led to comments on the post or e-mails to me. It caused a lot of discussion and debate. My hit counter programs showed that people where Googling Brantford downtown from all over Ontario. It was clear that people realized that one city's issue can be relevant and important to the rest of the province as well. This motivated me to write more often about my city, such as things like more discussion of the downtown, the closing of another Brantford venue and http://chrisspicer.blogspot.com/2010/10/hey-you-yeah-you-vote.html.

This blog post is significant because it taught me that my posts don't need to be about nation or world wide news to be interesting or relevant to my readers. If the reader have stuck with me this long, then there is a part of them that is interested in me and the things that matter to me as well. It has encouraged me to be a bit more open about the major events of my life and the big issues that effect me personally such as the events of my city. I am proud to have the opportunity to inform more people about the things that effect me daily, but also for the chance to be able to vent and rant about events that are more directly impacting me.

It is unfortunate that in the end, the downtown debate ended in a negative way for me. It did allow me a chance to rant, inform and debate. I am glad that I decided to take the chance on writing about my little city. I am excited for many more opportunities to inform people about this amazing little place known as Brantford.

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