Mission: Local Bloggers – Ross Johnson

When we were asked to follow a local blogger (based in Ann Arbor, Michigan) as part of our Eco-Friendly Internship, it occurred to me that the concept of a blog has changed since they first entered the public view. Blogs began mostly as a method of personal expression, either standalone on sites like Blogger.com or as part of a MySpace profile. That was three years ago. In the time since, something called the “blogosphere” was born. I never really understood what that meant, since it implies that there’s some collected space where all blogs hang out. MP3 blogs got really popular, since people love being able to download a song or two and stay tuned in to what’s “cool.” Political blogs also boomed, not only as a response to mainstream media, but sometimes as a unique source of political news.

Today it seems that the majority of blogs exist as part of a business model. As a journalist and natural skeptic, I’m a little worried about that. It is great for companies and employees to get information out to the public, but it also blurs the lines between personal expression (i.e. – creativity), journalism (i.e. – seeking truth while documenting events), and public relations (i.e. – selling something…at least, most of the time).

One way to keep blogs valuable is to center them around a geographical community. The ArborWiki has an open list of local bloggers. For the Eco-Friendly Internship, I’ll be following Ross Johnson, co-owner of 3.7 Designs, a website design company in Ann Arbor. His Web Design Marketing Blog and Podcast features a unique, attractive appearance and seems to focus largely on Cascading Style Sheets (CSS). For those not familiar with web development, CSS is a relatively new branch of coding for fonts, colors, and other front-end elements of a web page. Having just finished developing my own web site with HTML and a basic grasp of CSS, I’m hoping that Ross will have a lot to teach me on the subject.

The Ann Arbor Blogosphere: Learning From the Locals

Blogging is not only a great tool for personal expression, it’s also an excellent way to promote your online presence, therefore serving as the ultimate multi-media marketing tool. Ann Arbor local John Roos, uses his blog to promote his coffee roasting/delivery business around the area. His site, RoosRoast, provides the history of his business, beliefs behind what he does, an online store, and of course, his blog. I’ve been following his blog since this past Wednesday and found it to be an interesting resource. For Roos, it serves as somewhat of a stream-of-consciousness regarding his brew sessions around town. As he states on his blog, Roos is big into local- whether that be his own business, or eating locally in Ann Arbor. John Roos knows good coffee and good food and isn’t afraid to let you know that. I think that’s a large part of the appeal of his blog. He puts himself, his business, his artwork and his experience out in the Ann Arbor blogosphere for people to read. Yes that’s right, John Roos not only brews delicious coffee, he is also a self proclaimed “New American Folk Artist.”

 

 

I think John Roos was an excellent blogger to follow; his site exemplifies how the creation of your online presence can reflect all aspects of your life. In the digital world, it’s easy to compartmentalize different aspects of your life. However, as Roos shows, it’s just as easy to have a website and blog that can be used to play off of each-other. Being a new blogger myself, I found it quite refreshing and insightful to see a fellow Ann Arborite using the blogosphere for personal and professional uses simultaneously. I look forward to following Roos and his coffee (and artwork) trials and tribulations well into the future.