Part of my morning routine in reading tech news and such is to pop by r/Portland, a massive subreddit that focuses on what’s happening in the Rose City. All couched in an appropriate amount of Reddit snark. Only today, the information I received wasn’t about Portland. Because the subreddit is inaccessible. For a reason.Read More
Sometimes, I come across things that have nothing to do with startups or entrepreneurship. But they are compelling. And they showcase the Rose City in interesting ways. This is one of those occasions. (Also, this post is so short, I don’t even have to do a page break.)
Senator Ron Wyden has been a staunch proponent of an open Internet, often rising to meet censorship and throttling concerns head-on. With Net Neutrality in a lurch, he’s once again voicing his opinions and working to ensure the Internet remains open. What’s different this time, though, is that he wants to chat with you about it. Read More
One of the best things about the startup scene? Shared knowledge. Hands down. Whether it’s a story of failure or a story of success, shared knowledge and experiences can often be the key to helping another founder succeed—or just make it through the day. Read More
But along about that time, Portland reddit really started to take off. And now, more than 2500 subscribers strong Portland reddit is a great resource for finding all sorts of interesting stuff about all things Portland. Read More
As many of you know, OregonLive—the primary Web site for The Oregonian, the largest paper in Oregon—is managed far beyond the control of the local reporters and Web designers here in Portland. Like in New Jersey. What’s more, OregonLive runs exactly the same codebase as all of the other Web sites managed by Advance Internet, like New Orleans’ paper The Times-Picayune.
And since we all love to carp about the shortcomings of OregonLive, it seems only appropriate that we give them kudos for making marked improvements. Recently, Advance Internet has rolled out a few changes to OregonLive that are worth mentioning. Read More
It may be a short week, but it’s not a slow news week. That said, it is the Friday of a short week. And posting about really cool startups or important news may get lost in the haze of moving into the weekend.
What to do? What to do?
I’ve got it! How about taking care of some housekeeping around the ol’ Silicon Florist?
What kind of housekeeping you ask? Well, how about reminding you about all the ways you can consume Silicon Florist content and interact with the awesome startup community here in the Silicon Forest? Read More
Since I had written an earlier editorial on OregonLive Reddit about its wealth of potential, I thought it appropriate to post that—until further notice—that potential is now completely gone.
Why? Because now OregonLive Reddit stories make the front page of the OregonLive not as a result of their popularity or user voting, but as a result of the order in which the OregonLive Reddit articles were submitted.
It’s important to note that the OregonLive home page now features the most recent submissions, and not the hottest posts.
And here’s my favorite part…
This change took place about one week ago in order to keep the Reddit posts fresh on the home page.
Perhaps the folks at The Oregonian and OregonLive are even more Web 2.0 than I thought, given that the new system follows the logic that “shiny and new” far outweighs “relevant and interesting.”
So go ahead and vote the Silicon Florist submissions up or down. It doesn’t really matter.
-1 for social media
At a time when the OregonLive Reddit user base was in the midst of asking good questions and having deep discussions about the nature of the service—at a time when many were working to embrace the potential of this feature—the team at OregonLive chose to remove the one and only thing that made the feature worth using: the voting that allowed the populous to determine what appeared on the front page.
Currently, the social feature has absolutely no bearing on what appears on the front page. It’s all chronological.
Kind of like, oh I don’t know, a printed newspaper?
I hear you, “Sounds like sour grapes to me, Turoczy. You’re just mad that you can’t keep content on the front page.”
You’re right. You’re absolutely right.
But that doesn’t mean I’m wrong.
As I mentioned in my earlier editorial, I felt this service was one of the more promising avenues to give startups in town some of the much needed limelight they deserved from traditional media. And I find it unfortunate that that avenue—an avenue that I thought had so much potential—has taken a hit.
Here’s hoping they reconsider this move.
Until that point, I’ll continue my search for other resources that truly have the potential to highlight the great work many of you are doing here in the Silicon Forest.
Because the people around here need to see the amazing things you’re doing.
Just not on OregonLive, I guess.
Granted, mine is a small voice, but I do what I can.
One of the ways I’ve found to help get some of this cool stuff out in front of a wider audience has been working with OregonLive Oregon Reddit, as both a submitter and an active participant.
To date, I’ve found the service a valuable means of helping put what you’re doing on the virtual front page of The Oregonian, if only for a brief time. And, undoubtedly, garner exposure from a much wider and diverse audience than the existing Silicon Florist reader base.
But, this morning, I noticed the image above. No stories. And it got me to thinking. Either the staff was working to tweak the algorithm or—worse yet—there were actually no stories submitted.
Which, as much as I like the potential of the service, brings me to the drawbacks to Oregon Reddit:
- Participation is exceptionally low for a social media service
- Due to low participation, political stumpers tend to downvote other stories in favor of getting the latest Merkley or Novick post on the front page
- Even though it should be a vehicle to get other publications on the site, the stories that tend to get the most attention are stories that are from The Oregonian or OregonLive staff, already
That said, Oregon Reddit isn’t by any means broken. In fact, it’s working exactly as it should. The majority of the users vote down stories they don’t want to see and vote up stories that appeal to them.
The problem is that the user base of Oregon Reddit is too small, not very diverse, and generally working with an ulterior—if not paid—motive. And that makes those votes largely irrelevant.
So, here’s what I’m asking you to do: participate.
I would much rather receive 100 downvotes that help me understand what kind of content readers are seeking. Or split of 50 up and 50 down that help me determine when a story is appropriate to submit to Oregon Reddit.
Some may say that Oregon Reddit isn’t the answer at all. That another locally focused news service would help garner this kind of feedback. I’d love to come around to that argument—if the potential for Oregon startups getting the recognition they deserve from a wider audience is just as high as it is with Oregon Reddit.
Long story short, I’d rather get completely negative feedback, than little to no response on the stories I submit.
Maybe the stuff I write isn’t interesting at all. Maybe it’s only interesting to an incredibly small subset of the population.
But I would like to know that. I simply don’t have the data points to make that determination.
I mean, other than the fact that the Merkley and Novick folks hate my writing.