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No Joking: Welcome to blogdowntown

By Eric Richardson
Published: Tuesday, April 01, 2008, at 01:50AM

While the calendar may say April 1st, I'll gladly assure you that this isn't a joke. After months of work, the all-singing, all-dancing, new blogdowntown is ready for its public debut.

First off, yes, it is quite different.

That out of the way, I'm really excited to get to share a project that's taken large chunks of my time ever since last fall. The purpose of blogdowntown is to present information that helps create a community conversation about Downtown, and I think this code presents a framework that'll help us in our pursuit of what that goal actually means.

Over the last year I've grown increasingly convinced that the traditional blog format has some serious shortcomings. Since all content is organized in a strictly chronological basis, each new story is pushing an older story off the home page and out of view. That creates a tension between content -- one is tempted to not post fun content when a more "important" story is up for fear of pushing that bigger story out of view before it has gotten its due attention.

That original motivation -- to try and redefine a sense of "priority" into the blog format -- drove what eventually morphed into what you see up on the site today.

I'll expound more on redesign theory later, but for now let me just give those of you who visit the site regularly a few things to notice.

First, if you're really missing being able to quickly glance at the home page to see if anything is new, consider bookmarking Latest Content. That'll give you thumbnail views of every story we run, organized in traditional chronological order.

Second, notice the Headlines section in the sidebar of the home page. Headlines are stories about Downtown that we think you should read, but that we aren't going to be writing a story.

Third, take a look at the Subscribe page to see a bunch of new options for how to receive blogdowntown content in your inbox or feedreader. The traditional feed will continue to show only stories, but there are new feeds to give you Headlines, Combined (Stories + Headlines) and a Daily Digest that wraps up all that's happened on the site during the past 24 hours.

While we've tried to kick the tires on this thing as much as possible before setting it live, I can almost guarantee that I'll wake up tomorrow to some report of a corner of the site I neglected. Be patient as we work the kinks out.

Hopefully this is just the beginning of fun things to come for blogdowntown in 2008.


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