Web logging (weblogging), commonly known as blogging, is an open platform of chronicling thoughts, observations or even reporting on issues and incidents as they transpire…with personal opinion and casual presentation mixed in. Blogging became common in the early 21st century (though weblog was coined in 1997) and has since graduated to a co-opted term by the major media; their own online presence is still news journalism but…hey! That “blog” term is so common and popular and all that…!
Blogging is still popular among amateurs, it’s still a casual endeavor (but can turn into one of expectation and dedication) that can attract eyeballs and allows fans/hobbyists/aspiring writers a chance to voice themselves at length at a location that puts their words at the forefront. It’s common in sports – fans have to express themselves somehow – and has its niche with every sports team. Well, most teams…
When an article a retired blogger wrote in 2018 is the 12th result on a web search for “Tampa Bay Lightning blogs”, there’s a problem.
Raw Charge, a Lightning blog I founded in 2009 and is built off my writings from my days as an indie blogger, has lacked a site manager for 14 months. The site is the top listing for Tampa Bay Lightning blog (or blogs) but it lacks site management and thus content (note: There’s someone serving on interim basis and content is on the site, just not what you’d expect from a blog representing one of the top NHL clubs of the past decade). Bolts by the Bay is the second blog that pops up in search results. Part of the FanSidd sports network which is very comparable to SB Nation (the host network for Raw Charge).
News media follows in search results, so do fan forum options. And ticketing. Ticketing is blogging, dontcha know??
I went through 50 entries of Tampa Bay Lightning blogs (and blogs) on Google and didn’t find an independent blog. Mind you, Bolt Prospects (which is certainly a Lightning blog) didn’t show up in search results. (I found out through direct look-up that The Lightning Lounge has ceased and archives o Lightning Shout are unavailable).
My point is folks, that while there is a franchise that is at the top of the NHL in Tampa Bay, it lacks a fan base that aspires to express itself in weblogging… You can certainly find fans in message foums like Reddit’s Lightning community, or on social media in a group on Facebook or loner-expression on Twitter, but that’s not blogging.
I did the same Tampa Bay Lightning blog search on Lycos. Lycos is one of the elder search engines out there (I once worked in search engine optimization) and can give you a unique result in web searches. Raw Charge, Bolts by the Bay and Lightning Insider (former Tampa Tribune beat writer Erik Erlendsson; it also came up prominently on Google results) were the top results. The fourth result was a Blogspot site that hasn’t been updated since 2008. That’s…uh… It’s results like that which actually inspired me to start blogging in 2004 — because long-dead fan sites were the lead search results after prominent media.
Bing’s search results for Tamps Bay Lightning blog mirrored results from Lycos. The results for the plural blogs included DRaysBay in top-10 search results. Tampa Bay Rays baseball is decidedly not Tampa Bay Lightning hockey.
This whole subject-matter is on my mind simply because I want to promote Lightning hockey blogs on my link-aggregation/hockey blog attempt at Hockey Daily. I was (and am) trying to follow more individual blots to promote feature write-ups (with intentions to have a place for blog writers to write their own features too). It’s tough to promote Lightning blogs when there aren’t any out there. Or at least not ones with proper search engine context (the joys of HTML and Meta tagging).
It’s a dead zone. While I know there’s social-media networking (interaction on Twitter), it would seem fans have gone to impulse-reaction primarily (via Twitter or Reddit) in order to gain immediate responses from other fans. You can’t fault that as it basically summarizes sports fans in general (action, reaction, socializing) but it also shows a void; a lacking aspiration to be more and be seen further and wider than those who immediately respond. An aspiration to say more and show more and not just have a community respond and react.