Thursday, November 6, 2008

FeedTacoma and a Visit From Kevin

Kevin Freitas came and talked to the class this week and as per usual kept the students enthralled. He was one of the areas earliest bloggers back when it was just an online journaling excercise. With entries back to 1998, he has no hesitation in putting his likes, dislikes, ideas and interests online. His dedication to his personal blog includes many important events in his life and he even has a section with pictures of himself through the years started as a baby. When asked by a student why he would lay so much of his life out there for everyone to see, he answered in part that it was like writing your memoirs in real time. It is a history of his life and moments throughout that life lay bare.

He also spent time discussing FeedTacoma.

I have always thought of FeedTacoma as the United Press International (UPI) or Associated Press (AP) of Tacoma news and feature articles. As such it would be known as Associated Tacoma Bloggers (APB) or something like that. The site itself describes its origins a little differently.

What's with the name?
Currently, the site's content is based on snippets or "feeds" from contributing websites. These feeds are pulling Tacoma-related stuff only and, while we were messing around testing, was a working title that stuck. It also represents the action of "feeding" folks info about this area and why it's a vibrant and comfortable place to live, work, and play.and how it started, then grew, in the South Sound Area.

In order to be part of the home page, you need to ask to be a part of FeedTacoma. Kevin will probably say yes, if in fact your blog talks with some frequency about Tacoma related things. When you do become part of the feed, you have to attach a Tacoma tag to any post that you wish included. The site automatically runs a scan every fifteen minutes or so, and polls the contributing blogs to see if any Tacoma tags exist and if they do, then publishes them into the feed.

As of now there are close to 40 blogs that feed into the system from outside sources.

But FeedTacoma did not stop there. It also offers anyone an opportunity to start their own blog on the site itself, which has resulted in an increase to the number of qualified blogs by a factor of three. Though there are suspicions that some are alter egos of some of bloggers themselves. Suspicions only, of course.

This currently allows for twenty or so posts on weekdays, and around one hundred a week. That would be highly unlikely from any single blogger and even paid writers muster a lesser amount on a weekly basis.

FeedTacoma is more than just the blog snippets it pulls in or the blogs that it hosts. It also provides areas for discussion, calendar listings, photos, videos and even shops. All about Tacoma and all free for the use.

It is one great big Tacoma community, open source, social network, organically grown, technology garden of South Sound goodness.

A wiki and templates for the blogs are being discussed.

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