I first heard of Patch.com from Ryan Sebastian of Treatbot. A few months back we were chatting at a South FIRST Fridays event and he told me Treatbot had been interviewed by Adelaide Chen of Milpitas Patch, and that Mayra Flores de Marcotte was preparing to launch a new Campbell Patch. I knew Mayra’s handmade Kerfufle jewelry and her husband Josh’s Lost San Jose photography from exhibits at The Usuals. Treatbot…South FIRST Fridays…The Usuals…these are all luminous bodies in the AllCamino firmament, so let’s say Patch.com came to me well-recommended by these indirect El Camino connections.
I immediately checked it out and learned Patch.com is a slick, coordinated, AOL-owned network of hyperlocal news sites about communities across the country. Several are in California so I subscribed to all the Bay Area Patches for cities that lie on El Camino Real or have mission connections. I figured this would be an excellent way to catch news stories about the road. My current, growing list of Patches to follow is:
- Gilroy Patch
- Santa Cruz Patch
- Campbell Patch
- Mountain View Patch
- Los Altos Patch
- Palo Alto Patch
- Menlo Park Patch
- San Carlos Patch
- Belmont Patch
- San Mateo Patch
- Burlingame Patch
- Millbrae Patch
- San Bruno Patch
- South San Francisco Patch
- Milpitas Patch
- San Rafael Patch
Back in November, as I was embarking on the the Shellmound Peace Walk through Milpitas, I contacted Adelaide in the spirit of networking and to my surprise got signed on as a freelance contributor. Since then she has given me the opportunity to write three articles for Patch—my first experience in journalism. It was a blast writing with a professional voice and (full disclosure) it was quite cool to be paid for those pieces.
Recently, however, she let me know that all Patches are adding a new feature: blogs. They are offering space for bloggers to write in their own voices about local topics they are passionate about. Patch bloggers don’t get paid, but they gain expanded exposure to a wider audience while retaining independence and ownership over the content. I knew right away this was a natural fit for me. Freedom!
I contacted the various Patch editors and so far the response has been quite positive. This is new for everyone so I’m still figuring out how it will work, but here’s the vision. AllCamino.com will continue to exist independently exactly as it does today; I’ll still do what I do. But if I write a post that might interest a particular Patch’s readers, I may cross-post to that Patch’s blog. Or I might write a standalone piece at Patch and just link to it here.
I’m taking baby steps now. I just published my first Patch blog at Los Altos Patch. The editor there, L.A. Chung, was the first to activate my Patch blog and she’s been very supportive and helpful so to her go the spoils. Click the link to read it:
By Bill Moore | May 10, 2011
El Camino Real is an important part of California history and Bay Area life. AllCamino.com is a blog that celebrates the past, present and future of The Royal Road.
It’s a fairly generic piece. My intention is to use it as an introduction on every Patch. See, I can do that. Freedom!
Do you like my profile photo there? It took me many takes and half an hour to get it right. It’s a trick-shot self-portrait and all I had as a guide was the little mirror on the back of my cameraphone. It was a lot harder than I expected and I got some funny looks from drivers whizzing by on El Camino. Can you locate that bell?
I think this Patch relationship will be a lot of fun. The symbolism is irresistable. AllCamino is the virtual link among the various Patches, just as El Camino Real is the concrete link that joins the real cities. These Patches are stitched together by a common thread that together make up the fabric of Northern California. Um, too much? Sorry about that.
I love the breathless tone of press releases—they’re invariably so thrilled!—and I always wanted to write one, so here we go:
Today AllCamino.com is thrilled to announce a new partnership with Patch.com. Blogger Bill Moore says, “This is the dawn of a new era of Bay Area hyperlocal storytelling. AllCamino and Patch create unique synergy and an enhanced value proposition for our combined readership along the El Camino Real information superhighway.” Arianna Huffington, founder of The Huffington Post and recent addition to the AOL family, remarks, “We are thrilled to roll out one of the most exciting offshoots of our turbo-charged web presence. This week we launch a great new chapter for Patch.com.”
That’s a real quote from Arianna, by the way, just not about me specifically. A real journalist wouldn’t take a quote out of context like that, but hey I’m a blogger. Freedom!