In no particular order:
1. Blogger Jason Bugg bags questionable APD behavior by sharing a screenshot on his blog of an off-color Facebook post about Occupy Asheville protesters made by an APD contractor. Eventually, an APD employee who commented on the post loses her job. The poster is demoted.
2. Mission Health PR spokeswoman Janet Moore dissects “The Ashvegas Crisis“–a social media fiasco based around top local blog Ashvegas.com–in a presentation uploaded to YouTube. Her remarks denigrating WNC residents as “hillbillies” cause outcry. She resigns.
3. What if we didn’t give a party and nobody came? Blogapalooza, the annual gathering of the bloggers raising big bucks for charity (and glasses of beer), didn’t happen in 2011. The local blogging community blogs on.
4. Prominent financial blogger and 2011 BlogWorld presenter Adam Baker of Man vs. Debt tours the USA looking for a new home, and settles on Asheville (for the time being). And blogs about it.
5. The Asheville Blogger Society arrives in December with unclear motives and unclear leadership, inviting local bloggers to gather.
6. Redesign at last! After holding unshakable top local blogging honors for years with a crappy Squarespace blog, Ashvegas at last moves to WordPress and an updated logo and official Ashvegas.com URL. (Shout out to web designer Eric Sopp and Inside Design, who also redesigned BlogAsheville in 2009.)
7. The Type-A Parent Conference, formerly the Type-A Mom Conference, a locally organized conference for parents who blog and use social media, moves to Charlotte.
8. When a series of scary home invasions struck West Asheville over the summer, resident Pancho Bond wrote an impassioned open letter to “city council, the media and fellow concerned citizens” expressing concern over area residents not being told about multiple home invasions rumored to involved rape and violence. Ashvegas posted the letter, and community reaction began.
Local photographer Bill Rhodes spearheaded the West Asheville community response, arranging a community dialogue meeting between police and residents. After a police presentation in which police offered an explanation for the delay and explained that rape and violence in the home invasions was just a rumor, residents organized into zones and joined a neighborhood watch Facebook group.
Rhodes created the West Asheville Watch blog, which initially shared mostly local crime news, but quickly expanded to include photography and history.
When a frightening series of crimes happened, local blogs served as a way to share concerns with the authorities, and to unite and inform communities. Good work, West Asheville.