Remember back to the days when you were a little kid and you saw a moving truck arrive somewhere in the neighborhood? While mom and dad might have scrutinized the furniture being unloaded to make some superficial judgment on what type of family was now living in the neighborhood…of course, the only concern on your mind was whether or not the family had some future potential playmates. You kept your fingers crossed just hoping to catch a glimpse of kids chasing around the outside of the house within your view.
In many ways this simplistic approach to the world applies to outdoors blogging, as well. Particularly when the blogger purports to have an interest in the outdoors…but you just can’t quite put a whole lot of trust in the person, at least not until you better get to know them. This is especially true when the blogger combines an interest in the outdoors with a heaping serving of politics infused in the blog commentary. At first you want to embrace this person as a new friend and welcome them to the outdoors neighborhood…after all, isn’t that how your parents raised you to be by default? Friendly…neighborly…helpful. But your greeting is cautiously reserved until you determine with absolute certainty that the kid is not some little monster destined to spend a disproportionate amount of his life eventually serving time behind bars.
And so it is with a new blog that has started up on the outdoors scene here in Minnesota. The Peavey Pole, written by John Merritt, who through his bio states he works for the PR group Carmichael Lynch Spong in the Twin Cities. This blog seems to have a definite slant toward stirring up controversy…at least so far. But the curious point I wonder about is this blog has existed for less than one month and during this time only had 5 posts (as of this writing). That’s it! Yet, the blog gets prominent mention recently by outdoors writer Dennis Anderson in Minnesota’s largest daily newspaper. Hmmm…
I can’t help but wonder what’s up with that. No, I’m not suffering here from a little blog recognition envy, but what ever happened to earning one’s stripes first? Personally, I don’t generally want to see blogs getting that sort of free publicity when they truthfully haven’t even established themselves quite yet. Merritt might be a damn good person…after all, he claims to hunt and fish…but that doesn’t mean I will agree with all of his views politically. Probably not even as they relate to many conservation matters.
Yes, in many ways when a new blogger hits the ground running stating they are going to “be an all-purpose blog about Minnesota’s outdoors, covering a broad range of topics and helping to break through the logjams — political or otherwise — that affect our outdoor heritage” it does leave me a bit concerned. Just like the little kid who anxiously waits for a new friend to move into the neighborhood…I also want that kid to be a good playmate. Not some bully who’s nothing but a loud mouth always willing to pick a fight just for the sake of arguing with me for what I believe in.
Oh, sure, a healthy discussion about the outdoor topics is always a good thing. And for goodness sakes, if you go through my archives over the past two years you will learn a lot about me and what I believe in. I’ve gotten political at times…absolutely! Have I alienated some readers because of it…no doubt! Yet the point remains my blog didn’t launch itself thanks, in large part, to some noteworthy person giving me my due. Truth is, I’ve let my blogging speak for itself and up until this point my 300 blog postings have not been hyped by influential sources the likes of what The Peavey Pole has already received.
I’m still waiting to see what kind of blogosphere neighbor Merritt will be with his postings. Much of what he’s written so far doesn’t ruffle my hackles too much, but I can already sense the election season breezes starting to blow and I can’t say I am completely thrilled with the commentary I’ve been reading so far. Whether he knows it or not, he’s aligned himself with some activist Minnesota sportsmen with whom I do not subscribe to their political philosophies. Yet, he’s picked up a communication tool (the blog) that can be very powerful and influential, as we especially learned during the last election season. My hope is The Peavey Pole becomes a source for good conservation discussion and not one based entirely on political agendas advanced by what I would call the vocal minority within our sportsman ranks.
© 2006 Jim Braaten. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction without Prior Permission.