On the Edge of Oblivion

A friend sent me an email.

Rob, I’m really surprised that you have nothing to say about the apparent demise of On the Edge. There hasn’t been new post there since August 27.

Really? This I have to see.

After some examination, it does appear that On the Edge, once one of the Times Union’s most popular blogs, is dead. Positively, absolutely, undeniably and reliably dead. Most sincerely dead, even.

The busy blog went into a skid when Kristi Gustafson left in in 2014. Her successor tried like hell, but couldn’t quite capture the tart mix of style and opinion the readers loved — and others loved to hate.

What made On the Edge a real sh*tshow was the comment section, which provided a Greek chorus for Gustafson’s high-handed pronouncements. When she left, the mob fled.

This is a great example of the ephemeral nature of blogs, and testament to how one person’s unique voice can capture an audience.

Like the loss of Metroland, it’s a loss to the local media landscape. I didn’t like On the Edge — and why would I, because as a man, I certainly wasn’t the target demo — but you’ve got to admit, it was really good at what it did.

7 responses to “On the Edge of Oblivion

  1. Rob, you’re not suggesting that guys who read On the Edge were less than manly, are you?

    • Of course not! If a man enjoyed reading and commenting at On the Edge, that’s his own business. Who’s to say that a fella shouldn’t be interested in handbags, high heels and catty gossip? Not me.

  2. I never commented on the blog but would occasionally lurk there. Must have gone there from a link on Albany Eye. This was, I think, one of her most memorable posts:

    http://blog.timesunion.com/ontheedge/turn-your-va-jay-jay-into-jewelry/22903/

    Great stuff for a respectable newspaper

    • Oh, I may have disliked it, but that doesn’t mean I never read it.

      It’s natural to be drawn to things that are annoying — like Talk 1300, for example.

      I used to have lively conversations with people who felt On the Edge was inappropriate content for a real newspaper. I always felt it was rather like the life and style sections, which were far removed from where the real news resided. And the Times Union isn’t exactly the New York Times.

      But isn’t stuff like that a sign of the times, like the endless picture galleries and other click bait that pollutes the TU’s site? These people will do anything to make money on the digital side, and all the while, the Rex Smiths of the world hold their noses and avert their eyes.

  3. I can handle websites that specialize in fluff, but what bothered me about OTE was how much bullying and shaming went on there. I wrote about it a few times, most explicitly here: http://jericsmith.com/2010/04/09/fashion-bullies/

    • When I was writing this post, I twice typed the word “bitchy” and twice deleted it. That word sometimes rings with misogyny but, unfortunately, it’s also the perfect word to describe the tone at On the Edge.

  4. That Wizard of Oz reference nearly caused me to spray coffee out of my nose!

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