OK, so I'm back in town. While I may love the Grid and all it holds, it doesn't hold everything.
Went to a friend's party in San Francisco, a loft in the Mission, lots of interesting, attractive and very-willing-to-dance people. We closed the place down at 5 a.m. and went to crash in the van. (Every party pro has a van of some sort. Ours is a '89 Westy.)
I came back to an email from a former colleague who suggested that my blog entries on Saclights were premature and a bit sour grape-flavored. He noted that I had a right to sour grapes, but that I was over the line. I don't agree.
I don't agree because I am getting a whole new appreciation for the difficulty that I, alone, am having adjusting to the internet life. Or, not alone. EVERYONE is, perhaps most deeply at places like The Bee. Not that I am unfamiliar with the web, but having to try to make money with it, or keep or grow an audience, or draw advertisers, or all of the above - and mostly, I'm still just THINKING about it - is daunting. And for an organization as top-heavy with management and chain-of-command as the Bee - and a passion for meetings that has driven more than one editor to drink, I'm sure - it's gotta be that much harder. They have WAY more resources than a small company does - let alone an individual like me - but they are also hamstrung in how they put it all together. And they have a LOT more to lose.
I do NOT wish them ill, as I think I've made clear in the past. We NEED the Bee. But honestly, having watched the place work for most of my adult life, I can say that it is beyond me how they are going to make the leap, so deep is the resistance to change. And that's not even counting the difficulty of shifting content from the paper to online. But they're trying, and that's really all you can ask. Unless, of course, you're a shareholder.
The difficulty that Saclights faces, to me, is that anything associated with The Bee is increasingly suspect, and not just among the much-sought-after-and-pandered-to "young readers" (who basically don't exist). It's the Boomers, too. They don't feel that the Bee is in touch with them, and I would have to agree.
But it may not be POSSIBLE for a huge company like The Bee to EVER feel right to people again. People don't WANT a monolith, they want to choose from little bits and pieces and assemble reality for themselves. Which makes it hard for ANYONE to build something as big as The Bee once was. Decentralization, tribalism, Balkanization - will Saclights.com end that?
Who knows? But I'm certainly willing to give them a shot and see how they do. But my experience of distrust of The Bee is rooted in personal experience - and I'm not alone, even among people who've never set foot in the Big Brick on Q.
Beyond that, as far as blog entries go, I've given Saclights.com more attention than The Bee has! What was that quote about any publicity being good publicity? Surely, that's gotta be more true than ever at 21st and Q.