Wednesday, November 01, 2006


I like the sound of the word "gawker," and I think it nicely captures the spirit of this idea. Unfortunately, it's already taken on the web....

Have you ever driven by a big fire or accident on the road and wondered what's going on? Many people wouldn't admit it, but pretty much 100% have a strong gawker inside them, at least the OCD-challenged among us.... ;-)

Have you ever seen a weird light in the sky that you couldn't explain?

Did you ever wonder why a particular traffic route was congested at a certain time?

Well, it happens to me quite frequently, and I don't want to slow down traffic even further by actually gawking, so I've sometimes searched the local media for reports. Sometimes you can get information there, such as when a gas semi knifed and ignited by the Issaquah off-ramp; but mostly, I draw a blank.

If it's a big enough event, it may appear in the media. For example, my wife and I saw an amazing light in the Utah desert a few years ago, and could only guess what it could be, but we couldn't explain it. It started out looking like maybe it was a helicopter pointing its lights at us, but it quickly grew too bright, and was clearly too far away. Then, it started trailing away toward the horizon, almost like a contrail, but much brighter and faster. It was quite a sight. Later that week, we saw a photo of it in the newspaper. It was some test missile or other, shot into the Pacific.

(It's funny how this can even act in reverse. I was in Honolulu, just a few hundred yards from mud slides that were declared a national emergency on the news, but noticed nothing but a little rain.)

But, sometimes it's a much smaller event, such as the light over Kirkland on the evening of Sept. 29th, 2006, that looked like a helicopter crashing or something, that wouldn't have been seen by more than maybe a few thousand people, at most, and of them, there are probably only a handful people who would use a community news service like I'm proposing, as authors.

It should be really easy for locals to upload such information, and for other locals to search it. Yet, I haven't found such a service on the web. Local media is too selective (who's going to care about some little mud slide on Issaquah-Hobart in a few days—OK, bad example—that one was in the news for weeks, but...), and blogging is too scattered. Technically, an open-for-all locality-based blog and/or Wiki would do it, but I haven't been able to find such a beast.

For it to work, it would need to be well-known enough that people would actually go there and post questions and answers.

I'll do some more searching, but if I don't find one, I think I'll start a blawker for the greater Seattle area soon.

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Blogger Adam Behringer said...

I would totally sign up for this!

Maybe you could put news over a Google map so that news could be located by physical location.

I am always trying to find local stuff in the news and not having much luck.

3:40 PM  
Blogger Claes-Fredrik Mannby said...

I found this site, that may be appropriate enough:

6:07 PM  
Blogger Claes-Fredrik Mannby said...

And this one, but it seems to have very low participation:

6:13 PM  
Blogger Claes-Fredrik Mannby said...

A new example: Why was there a detour on NE 8th in Bellevue tonight? Coming around the south side, it seems there's some major construction going on there, and maybe NE 8th needs to be shored up where it's now adjacent to a pretty deep block-sized hole. I have a picture too, which I would post to if it was up.

11:53 PM  
Blogger Claes-Fredrik Mannby said...

OK, Blawker is now up:

8:53 AM  
Blogger Claes-Fredrik Mannby said...

Here is a copy of this post, on

9:04 AM  

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