Another day, another new post "theme" that could potentially run throughout the offseason. What I'd like to do is get approval ratings from you guys on all things Chargers-related. Are you happy with the job A.J. Smith is doing? Are you happy with Qualcomm Stadium? Are you happy with Ron Rivera as Defensive Coordinator? These topics and others will be brought up and you'll be given a chance to vote on them.
What I'd like to do today is discuss the Official Chargers Blog and let you guys vote on in. The poll will show up on the home page and my thoughts can be found by clicking the link underneath the poll (so you can vote before you read). However....and this goes for all future approval rating posts as well....if you're unfamiliar with the Chargers' Blog I ask you not to vote at all. If you're very familiar with it and have a strong opinion on it already, please vote before reading my own thoughts. I want to try to influence the fewest amount of people as possible.The Official Chargers Blog is written by Joel Price. I've never met Joel, but I do follow him on Twitter. Based on that I can tell you two things.....Joel is a biking enthusiast and seems to be a very nice, friendly guy. My issue is not with Joel. My issue is more with the blog and how it's being run (which may or may not be according to how Joel believes it should be run).
Although I'm terrible at math, I like to use it a lot when defining things. Here's how I define a blog: Blog = News + Opinion + Conversation/Commenting. BFTB would be a pretty crappy place without even one of those three things because they're all key. The Official Chargers Blog is built on the outdated WordPress platform, which has shown numerous times to be a poor way to get commenters or any decent conversation going (Joel rarely gets more than 1 comment on his posts). Also, although it coins itself as a "Blog", the site is nothing more than a second (or third, or fourth) place for Chargers fans to get team news. There's no opinion, no stats and nothing that you couldn't already get at Chargers.com or by reading the Union-Tribune.
The Official Chargers Blog is mostly fed by e-mail from Joel. E-mails that are sent to media people (like myself) and are then copied onto the blog. There's very little time and effort that goes into the blog and it shows. I wouldn't have as big of a problem with this if it weren't for Casey Pearce. Casey writes all the stories for Chargers.com. He is essentially doing the same thing the blog is doing, but his work is better and he's actually focused on it. There's no reason for the blog to be covering the same stories Casey's covering in the same way. If they're going to cover the same thing, the blog should be a place to analyze the story and start up conversations about it.
No matter where you go on the Chargers.com website, you'd be hard-pressed to find a writer with an opinion or a place where readers/writers can converse together (and don't tell me the forums, because their forums are out-dated, terrible and not inhabited by the Chargers.com writers usually). The fact that the team even has an official "blog" gives them a place to communicate with the fans and dig deeper into stories (with an insider's edge). There's really no reason why the team needs to funnel all of it's opinions through the UT, and there's no reason why they can't have a "blogger" to be the middle-man between the team and the fans.
Look, I'm not dumb. I realize that at least part of the reason BFTB has so many readers is because Chargers.com is not currently offering these things and we are. But along with being the leader here, I'm a Chargers fan. This is why we had Kevin Acee Day, even though his "blog", Twitter account and the things he does for the Union-Tribune's website could be considered "competition" for BFTB. The Chargers fanbase has learned so much over the past season just because of what Acee has been willing to put out there, even if it's just his own opinion on certain situations. Hell, I watched most games with Acee's Twitter page open and refreshing every few minutes because little things like "Kevin Burnett seems fine. I bet he plays next week" are incredibly valuable news that probably isn't valuable enough to write an entire story about. More Kevin Acees and sites like BFTB can only help matters. It's time for the Chargers to step up their game.