Thursday, May 31, 2007

I'm Hooked on BrooWaha!

(For those of you who don't know, Broowaha is a citizen Internet newspaper that I write for. Check it out at:

I have now written more than 100 articles for BrooWaha San Francisco and all I can say is that I’m just getting started. I’m hooked on the Broo. I find myself thinking day and night about what I want to write next for the site.

I’m obsessed. My friends think I’m doing crank. My fiancée thinks I’m cheating on her. “What are you doing in front of that damn computer day and night?” she says. “Are you downloading porn?

In late February, I saw a posting for the new SF BrooWaha on Craigslist and it instantly caught my eye. I had never even heard of such a thing as a citizen newspaper. Already an avid blogger, I had no idea what it was or how it worked. But, once I found out and e-mailed back and forth with BrooWaha Founder Ariel, I took to the concept immediately.

What I like about BrooWaha is that it is TRULY a citizen newspaper. I wish it had existed when I was a journalism major at San Jose State a long time ago. In the early ‘80’s, long before the Internet existed, there just wasn’t anywhere that a fledgling writer could get his or her stuff published. And if there was, you were pretty much relegated to writing about things they assigned you. The kind of things no one else wanted to write about -- like PTA meetings, neighborhood watch patrols and kindergarten bake sales. Or, worst of all, you got to write obituaries. Nothing will kill you faster than having to write obituaries, believe me.

BrooWaha is a wonderful vehicle for many reasons, but one of the most important ones is that you get to write about those things that particularly interest you. Whatever you’re into, you can find an audience on BrooWaha.

And the system that Ariel has created is pure genius. And I’m not saying that just to kiss his ass. People read your stuff and comment on it. They rate you on interest, writing, fairness, etc. and you receive immediate feedback. Most of the comments I’ve gotten from fellow BrooWaha’ers have been very constructive and intelligently written.

I realize I’m not writing cutting-edge investigative stuff. Most of my articles are celebrity bashing pieces, local restaurant reviews, sports stories and interviews with old baseball players. I know people aren’t going to be clamoring for my next installment. But, for those who do want to read my articles, there’s a place that they can see them, and it’s BrooWaha. It’s the ultimate venue for free expression.

I also enjoy reading other people’s articles and I have been pleasantly surprised to see all of the really well-written pieces that have come through here. I’m also pleased to see that from time to time some articles get picked up by sites like Google and Yahoo, meaning they get a lot of traffic and additional viewers.

I wrote one story about Michael Vick and dog fighting, and it got a very high rating on Google, which has resulted in a lot of hits. One SF BrooWaha writer, M.B. Dixon, wrote an article that got picked up by Netscape and has received more than 6,000 hits to date! I’ve seen the some phenomenon occur again and again with LA and NY BrooWaha, which have been around longer and are more popular. If you’re looking for exposure for your writing, BrooWaha has proven that it can help.

I’m addicted to BrooWaha, I admit it. And unless my fiancée or my friends hold an intervention and try to wean me off this thing, I plan on writing for this site for a long, long time.

I’d like to thank the people who’ve been so supportive and given me some great feedback over the past few months, like Bill Friday, El G, Heaviside, SavageLettuce, Venditto and rjlight.

I love BrooWaha and I don’t care who knows it!

1 comment:

Bill Friday said...

Hey, Mr. Mayor!

Just found you here. Thanks for the kind words.