By Marc Fisher | November 16, 2007; 6:20 AM
Blogger of the Month: Silver Spring, Singular
For some reason I've never been able to fathom, hardly anyone from beyond the Beltway can process the idea that there is only one spring that gave Silver Spring its name--that, as Karl Ericson says, it's Silver Spring, Singular.
For those who have resigned ourselves to a lifetime of correcting folks about the number of springs, Silver Spring, Singular-- November's winner of our Blogger of the Month award--provides an entertaining and informative look into life in a bustling chunk of Montgomery County that has beeen transformed in recent years.
Silver Spring is one of the most blogolific locales in the Washington area. The new downtown has spawned a slew of quality bloggers, such as Silver Spring Penguin, which focuses on local businesses, eateries and development issues; and Silver Spring Scene, which has more of a real estate and business focus.
If you're photographically inclined, check out the self-explanatory and perceptive Silver Spring Daily Photo. There's some original reporting on the South Silver Spring Neighborhood Association's blog.
But the trips to Silver Spring that I find most satisfying are the ones you can take via Just Up the Pike, Dan Reed's blog, which was profiled in Sunday Source's roundup of some very good local bloggers a few months back; and Silver Spring, Singular, which has a similar mission to Reed's venture.
Ericson, 32, who recently bought his mother's house in Silver Spring, allowing him to live once again in the spot where he grew up, is a marketing man who launched his blog in early 2006 mainly because he was jealous that "every neighborhood in D.C. seemed to have half a dozen blogs and we didn't have any in Silver Spring."
But as we know, blogs beget blogs, and now, with about 400 steady readers on his own blog and a slew of other Silver Sprung blogs getting into some of the same issues of growth, development, and what's new to eat downtown, Ericson finds himself devoting an hour or so a day to the pressing issues of his hometown.
"Most of my ideas I get from walking around or things I pick up in the newspaper," he says, and a typical week on Silver Spring, Singular might include updates on the continuing discussion over putting a county-subsidized music venue in the new downtown, the crying need for a good gelateria in Silver Spring, and the annoyingly loud customers who are permitted to disturb moviegoers at the Majestic theaters.
That last topic caused a bit of a ruckus, especially on his comment boards, which is where things tend to get a bit out of hand on these here blogs. But Ericson is committed to taking on issues that he and his readers care about; the only topic he tends to shy away from is the eternal debate in Silver Spring over the route of the proposed Purple Line mass transit extension--"because if I started, I'd be writing about it for the rest of my life," he says.
Silver Spring, Singular is a friendly, chatty and attractively eclectic blog, one that feels like the place it serves. It has just the right amount of passion to make you care, but not so much as to send you running for cover. Ericson is proud to call himself a Silver Spring booster--"The downtown is no longer up and coming," he says, "it's really arrived"--but dedicated enough to criticize the county and developers when they deserve a shot. More than anything else, he views himself as a bit of community memory, a service best provided by a guy who grew up in the house he still lives in, who found himself over the years "always defending Silver Spring against people from Bethesda or D.C." and who now has a platform from which to carry on that defense for all to read.