a few thoughts on the no depression community
When I was thirteen I wanted to be a disc jokey. By fifteen I wanted to be a rock and roll star. At seventeen I wanted to be Jack Kerouac. And by the time I went off to college, I knew I was going to be a journalist. For four years I wrote and edited for the school newspaper and took classes to learn the craft. By my senior year I pretty much came to the conclusion that this burning passion had simply burned out. So I became a peddler by trade and the only writing I did were business memos. Good ones I might add, but memos nonetheless.
Like most of us here, I was sad when No Depression ceased publication. Hoping that my favorite writers would continue to write and post here made it sort of okay, but that model didn’t work out. Kyla Fairchild wrote a bit about the challenge of running this website and the fall and decline of printed media in general back in February 2009 (click this to read it). To quote her in regards to the writers: “It saddens me greatly to be unable to pay No Depression writers and also to ponder a future without a daily printed newspaper. I can only hope that change will deliver a brighter future with currently unforeseen benefits.”
And so with that, Kyla chose to keep this community of over 11,000 members alive, by turning much of the content derivation over to you and me. I think it takes a lot of courage for her to hand the reins to us, as we are collectively the voice of a brand that she owns. At times it must feel a lot like giving the keys to your shiny new car to a bunch of four year olds. And as you probably can tell, most of us here who create and post original content are not professional writers. We’re wild-eyed and out of control toddlers, sitting behind the wheel and barely steering.
I guess since I’ve been here since the beginning and have a day job that allows me to check in fairly often, there are times when Kyla and Kim travel that I’ve had the pleasure of being the site overseer of sorts in their absence. A few weeks ago during the Americana thing in Nashville was one of those times, and it struck me how infrequently people are taking advantage of the opportunity to participate by writing and posting blogs, or developing new topics in the forum.
Judging by the comments left on my posts and those of others, there’s no shortage of knowledge, intelligence and talent out there. And since this isn’t like your traditional periodical or newspaper, there’s no pressure on things like deadlines (or getting fired). If you have any interest at all in putting your toes into this water, Kim has put together tips for blogging that you can find in the FAQ area of the site.
There’s a few of you who post non-original content on a regular basis, and that’s cool too. If you find something of interest somewhere else on the ol’ interwebs and want to share, it’s pretty easy. All you need to do is cut, paste, notate the source and perhaps include the link to the original site you saw it. And uploading a video you saw on You Tube or a picture you took are also fairly simple non-techie things anyone can handle.
If you’ve made it this far, you might be asking what my motive is this day. It’s pretty simple…I’m looking for more. More music, ideas, thoughts and perspectives. More people to connect with. More contributions and interaction with the creative community. If this was a real non-virtual community, it would be nice to get to know the neighbors a little better. (By the way, unlike a real community, there is no central peace keeping force here. Sometimes there’s neighborly spats and we all need to remember to just play nice and be respectful and all that jazz.)
Please take this post as gentle encouragement to cross the street from passive readership to active community member if you so desire. Trust me, it isn’t like being the new kid in school and feeling awkward. It’s a pretty welcoming and forgiving place. Kyla and Kim and Grant and the various volunteers are to be acknowledged and thanked for working hard to keep the No Depression candle burning.
By the way, I see that there’s still this donate button on the lower right corner of the front page if the mood hits…