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Some Thoughts on Ten Years of Blogging about the District Part One

Photo by PoPville flickr user Eric P.

Well the anniversary party is a week away [RSVP if you can or if you just want to have a reminder in your Facebook] and I thought I’d take this opportunity to reflect back on ten years of blogging about the District of Columbia.

Number one. And I always say this number one whenever I do interviews or am on a panel or anything like that. And I emphasize this because it took me years to learn. The best part of living in DC are the neighborhoods. The best part is not the one neighborhood you live in. It is the sum of all the neighborhoods.

When I first started the blog, then known as Prince of Petworth I was obsessed with Petworth, Columbia Heights and U Street. And it took me a few years to realize how great other parts of the District were. For example anyone who doesn’t take a minute or two to visit NoMa, Navy Yard, SW Waterfront, Ivy City, H Street, NE (obviously), Georgetown, yes Georgetown, Capitol Hill etc. – well you are crazy. The growth the District has seen over the last ten years is jaw dropping. You are doing yourself a disservice by having a close minded mentality.

Number two. There are always (at least) two perspectives. I find that everyone likes to generalize. Kidding, kidding – but some folks do like to generalize. For example – all District government is a disaster. All MPD officers are the worst. All new restaurants are overpriced. All one people are this way and all other people are that way. And there is no room for nuance. This is not healthy and this is not a proper reflection of the reality in which we live. There are good cops. There are terrible cops. There are good bus drivers and terrible pepco interactions. And vice versa. Now believe me, I see and hear about the bad every single day. Even so, personally I have had tremendously positive interactions with MPD, DPW, 311, the Mayor’s Office, some Council Member’s offices, even DCRA. Does this mean that they are infallible? Far from it. Does this mean that my life is all rainbows and lemonade? Of course not. But it also means that not everything is shit. And if you’re unwilling to factor in nuance, exceptions, different perspectives then there is no point in having a discussion at all.

Number three. Running a blog is very very challenging and very very rewarding. I’m always asked how do I do it? And how have I done it successfully? I’ll try to answer those questions now. I have no editor, no boss, no colleagues, nobody really except my cat dingo who is growing old and now sleeps most of the time. All that is to say, everything I do, I do because I am personally interested in it. For example there are some who post pandas or cute animals because they think it’ll get lots of clicks. Of course it does. But when I post pandas I’m posting about them because I personally think they are cool as shit. And it’s gravy that other people think so too. I really love those fucking guys. I’ve also said this a million times, the afternoon animal fix is the best part of my working day every single day. Period. Truth. I remember one competitor of mine said I only do the animal fix as click bait. And that is the difference between them and me. I do it because I genuinely love pets. It grew organically out of a fun summer competition. They do it because they think it will help their metrics. My guiding principle has always been – is this thing interesting to me? Can this question genuinely help someone out? Everything I do, I do with passion and for a purpose. Even when it’s just looking for cool doors, a funny sign or a sweet city ride.

How have I done it successfully? Well, I am slightly insane. And I’m incredibly driven. I have posted when I had food poisoning. I have posted when I had the flu. I have posted right after my first child was born. Besides my honeymoon, I have not taken a day off since 2009 (days I’ve been away from the computer I have pre-loaded all posts.) Today I log between 10-20 miles walking every Saturday or Sunday, pre-kids it was even further. Walking with no purpose but walking to see what I can find. I have been doing that for 10+ years. Happily. I love walking. I did it even before the blog. It is truly like breathing to me. But I also walk when I’m sick, when I’m tired, when I’m depressed, when I just want to watch football. I do it. I always do it. I don’t go online and see what other people have found. I wanna see what I can find. You can not fake passion and sincerity. Well you can not fake it for ten years. People will see right through you. What drives me most is to make sure this site is sincere and true to who I am.

Finally, it is you. I have also said this a million times. This site is nothing without you, even the people who make me want to smash my head through the computer from time to time. But seriously, from the photographers, to the tipsters, to those asking questions, to those providing answers, to those simply providing an ear, a bit of compassion, a bit of understanding, a different perspective. We are not all perfect. Some in our lovely District like to portray themselves as the smartest, the coolest, the hippest, the prettiest, the best. Well, I know I am not those things. And many of you know that you are not those things. And, well, it’s just nice to have a place where we can be ourselves and ask genuine questions and get genuine answers and advice and enjoy a beautiful fucking flower from time to time and vent from time to time and God damn it, show off our pets from time to time. Everything on this site is not for everyone. That is for sure. But I do hope there is something for everyone, every day or else I will not be happy.

I truly cannot say how grateful I am for this opportunity you have given me to be a professional blogger for all these years. It is crazy. It feels crazy writing that. But it is very important for me to know that you guys know – I could not do it without you. So that’s how I’ll leave part one. Thank you PoPville. You are PoPville. I am a part of PoPville. But everybody commenting or just reading, we are all PoPville. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

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