In only a short time Patch has made itself an important fixture in our community. It has provided local news, crime reports, summaries of council meetings, public forums, and other information of urgency and interest to Albany residents.
But of interest perhaps to no one else. And that's the point. When Patch started, it was mostly about us, and we liked that and participated. Now, as a result of AOL corporate policy I assume, Patch is a smattering of us and more of everybody else.
I like our neighbors, our state, and our nation, but I can read about them anywhere and everywhere. I'm selfishly interested in Albany and our people and our comings and goings. California teachers, Barbara Lee, New Year's resolutions. Yeah, OK, a local angle maybe, but are these distinctly Albany enough?
As Patch goes more generic, it reflects us less. I find myself skipping over most of the discussions now: they are either of general (not local) interest, or are dominated by people who couldn't find Solano Avenue on a map. And now it seems the local editors are being thinned out and made to cover wider and wider areas, producing less coverage that is strictly local.
AOL can do what it wants with its franchise. But if they expect us to stick around, and click their ads. Patch needs to engage us at street level.