I think it would surprise many people that beauty was one of my primary motivators in creating Placeblogger, a searchable index of local weblogs which I ran from 2007-2013. While running H2otown, an online community and news site in Watertown, Massachusetts, I began to feel a sense of connection with community that I had never felt before. Simple things about my town seemed beautiful and meaningful in a new way.
At the time, many people would ask me, how many hyperlocal sites like H2otown are there? I began to count and was surprised at how many, how varied, and how good many of them were. I began Placeblogger as a way to “listen in” to the kind of community conversations that I’d come to love in Watertown.
Placeblogs are an act of sustained attention to a place and its people over time. Many produced thriving online communities, better connections to civic information, and the kind of shared appreciation of what’s beautiful about a particular community.