Ryan Sholin hits the nail on the head:
Instead of giving us a site focused on OUR TOWN, YourHub and Backfence and now American Towns (Fremont edition here) give us a site focused on THEIR BRAND.
Ever since YourHub was introduced two or three years ago (and I worked for an E.W. Scripps newspaper at the time, so I knew it was coming even before launch), I’ve been struggling with the words to explain why I disliked it. I talked about it being too corporate. Too top-down. Too big media. It isn’t really about creating community. It’s about creating a place to drop advertisements. And it shows. It shows in spades. But in one clear sentence, Ryan sums up the problem with a lot of these “citizen journalism” sites, and explains why they’re failing to take root.
Ryan then writes, “I canâ€™t emphasize this enough. No one wants to connect with your brand, they want to connect with their town,” but I would say people don’t want to connect with a town. They want to connect with their friends (and potential friends) and neighbors so they can talk about their town and their lives.