When Potrero Hill resident Mike Lin was mugged three years ago, he was frustrated by a dearth of online news about neighborhood crime.
For that reason, in April 2005, he started Potrerohillsf.com, a Web site where he and his neighbors could alert one another to dangerous incidents. The blog soon expanded into a virtual neighborhood center where Potrero Hill parents could review plans for a proposed playground, residents could weigh in on local restaurants and neighbors could read about the potential impact of the area’s planned Whole Foods.
If Lin, 35, seems at home in the blogosphere, perhaps it’s due to his many neighbors’ keeping him company. According to community news aggregator Outside.in, Potrero Hill is the “bloggiest” neighborhood in San Francisco.
Outside.in, which tracks local bloggers in more than 3,000 U.S. neighborhoods, based its rating on the total number of blog posts, bloggers, comments and San Francisco-based search engine Technorati rankings for the bloggers. Nationwide, Potrero Hill ranked the ninth bloggiest — mainly on the strength of Lin’s Web site. Clinton Park in Brooklyn rated as the bloggiest place in America. Downtown Los Angeles ranked first in the state and third in the nation.
The views of Bay Area residents have a significant presence among the 90 million blogs tracked by Technorati, company spokesman Jeff Koo said.
And while a fair number of bloggers still devote their sites to pontificating about politics or what they did over the weekend, blogs that serve as neighborhood portals are on the rise.
“San Francisco is really a hub of this kind of intersection between technology and culture. Sites that started in San Francisco, like Craigslist and Laughing Squid, are perfect examples of where tech meets the real world with real-world implications,” Koo said.
Lin’s site also functions as a town square of sorts. When a fire broke out in the neighborhood, residents were quick to post eyewitness accounts and upload pictures to the photo pool.
“It helps creates a sense of community,” Lin said.