We all feel the cold, we all see the change in the seasons, and we all appreciate the vast Yukon landscape.”
Darren, who writes in his blog The Wind Blows North, reminds us of what all Yukoners have in common, especially when the north wind does blow.
In the spring of 2006, Whitehorse entrepreneur and blogger Geof Harries, wanting to share even more in common with other bloggers, founded Urban Yukon at www.urbanyukon.com – an online gathering point for “authentic Yukon blogs.”
The site gathers together posts from its member blogs into a unified river of observations, rants and stories.
Harries named it Urban Yukon after the grand notion that the site would gather together all aspects of online social life in the territory, as might a bustling café in a vibrant city neighbourhood.
Urban Yukon started with just four members, but added new blogs steadily as people discovered its baby-blue home page. It has never been advertised, but is now the top search result for the term “yukon blogs.”
A couple of prospective cheechakos have told me that Urban Yukon was their first online introduction to the real territory. That is, the territory that exists without a daily dose of can-can rainbows and suspendered goldpanners.
As the current caretaker for the site, I polled the members for their opinion of Urban Yukon. Again and again, I heard mention of a “community,” one that brought together people who might not have otherwise associated
Stacie, who writes under the banner Life with Dogs in the Yukon, said it this way: “I feel pretty close to many of my fellow Urban Yukoners, and that is pretty cool considering I wouldn’t normally even connect with them.”
Is that a community? People who share little beyond a time zone, cold vast seasons, and skookum vocabulary?
If there is a community of Yukon bloggers, it will be found in the writing. Blog posts are written and then commented upon, which in turns provokes other posts and comments.
This immediate and frank feedback distinguishes blog writing from journal keeping. It’s also more deliberative than the twitched jottings flicked between “friends” on social networks.
As Kara, who tells tales of her family’s Adventures in Faro, puts it: “leaving comments with these bloggers, and having them comment on my blog, made me feel as though we already had friends in the territory before we even arrived.”
So posts and comments connect a blogging community. But the bonds decay rapidly: to join, you must write, but to belong, you must keep writing.
“Once I created the blog,” said Kirstin, who started writing Kirstin Is In The Yukon upon her recent arrival, “I felt a responsibility to keep updating it and to seek out new things to blog about.”
An active blogging community can also inform itself at the speed of tweet. Harries was proud that “when The White Stripes chose to play a surprise concert in downtown Whitehorse, bloggers on Urban Yukon were among the first to post photos and tales from the event.”
The community is not limited to individuals with a passion for writing. Businesses and organizations join in the fray.
Mary, who writes the Peel Watershed News, says that Urban Yukon “gets the word out to people that may not otherwise know or care about the Peel.”
Yukon Energy’s Ask Janet feature fields questions from the public. I’m tickled that my own blog, What He Said, encouraged Janet to post notices of planned outages. Of course, blackouts and blog posts rarely coincide.
But a community that merely writes becomes a true community when it acts as well. Married bloggers Fawn and Michael used their Fawnahareo’s Placeand Michael’s Meanderings blogs to involve us all in their daughter’s treatment for her seizures.
And the conversations made a difference. “It was other Urban Yukoners that were right there to help us out, shopping for food that fit her diet, helping us import speciality foods from across the border, and more,” Michael wrote.
“We didn’t have to ask; they just helped. That’s what the people in a good community do for each other.”
I invite you to join our Urban Yukon community, whatever its definition, and read more from these and the dozens of other bloggers. The price of membership is only what you write: in, near, or about the Yukon.