It’s been a wild ride publishing ComebackTown.
I never dreamed publishing a weekly blog about how to create a more prosperous Birmingham could be so challenging—but so DARN interesting!
I’ve learned so much about human nature, Birmingham, and our suburban neighbors.
Here are a few things I’ve discovered.
When people don’t like what you say—some attack you personally
I’ve long since gotten over it, but at the beginning, I was hurt that people attacked me rather than my opinions. I was prepared to defend my ideas—but have had to get use to folks questioning my character.
I also take a lot of ‘heat’ for not living in the City of Birmingham.
I live in Vestavia Hills and previously lived in Mountain Brook, but have always considered myself a Birminghamian. Some people feel since I don’t actually live in the city limits of Birmingham that I have no right to have an opinion.
I don’t expect everyone to agree with me—in fact, I don’t necessarily agree with everything I write. My only intent is to create a conversation about how we might have a more prosperous metro Birmingham.
There are people who hate Birmingham no matter what
It doesn’t make any difference what happens in Birmingham; there are some folks who feel compelled to make racially inspired attacks on Birmingham. I feel no need to prove this point. If you’re reading this piece on Al.com, just skip to the comments section and read the nasty comments—they are always there.
Some people don’t believe you when you say you’re NOT trying to combine cities or schools
Because there’s been very little job growth in greater Birmingham, a major objective of ComebackTown is to encourage our municipalities and government agencies to work together. According to the recently released Community Foundation report, we have many collaborative options that don’t involve combining cities or schools.
However, many readers think this is a trick to sneak in unified government and combine our schools.
There is absolutely no option being considered that would combine schools–or to consolidate municipalities.
Provocative headlines significantly increase readership
I’m often asked why I often publish provocative headlines.
You’ve heard the old saying, “It if bleeds it leads.”
There are folks who live in the suburbs who think the Birmingham name doesn’t impact them
When someone from out of state asks me where I’m from, I always say Birmingham. And I bet you do too. Virtually no one outside our area has heard of Trussville, Homewood, or Vestavia Hills.
So it’s a mystery to me why some people who live in the suburbs don’t think they are associated with Birmingham.
I published a piece, “Did Bear Bryant block Birmingham’s aspirations? I said we’re losing SEC media days as an annual event to other cities beginning with Atlanta. A commenter responded, “David, Birmingham did not lose the SEC Media Days, Hoover did. You speak as if the whole freaking area is already Birmingham.”
It’s true that SEC Media Days has been headquartered in Hoover, but the fact is that all of us in Birmingham are losing it.
Often negative people comment—positive folks generally don’t
Most Birminghamians love our city and like living here, yet 90% or more of the comments—particularly on Al.com—are negative.
Where are the good folks—why do good people remain silent?
People are intrigued with Mountain Brook
People love to read about Mountain Brook.
Four of the most read and five of the top ten ComebackTown blogs have included the words ‘Mountain Brook’ in the title.
- Why we escaped the Mountain Brook bubble
- The dreaded words Mountain Brook and Vestavia parents don’t want to hear
- The letter everyone in Homewood & Mountain Brook should read
- Mountain Brook builds wall—demands Vestavia pay for it!
- Do folks in Mountain Brook live in a bubble?
A lot of people care deeply about Birmingham
When I first published ComebackTown nearly seven years ago—I thought I would try it for a few weeks and see what happens.
The response was immediate.
I found out quickly that people want to know what’s going on in Birmingham and how to make it better.
Within one month Al.com graciously offered to republish it.
Since then the readership has grown exponentially.
Last year ComebackTown articles had over a million page views and many pieces were republished by The Birmingham Business Journal and other publications.
No one wakes up in the morning and hopes they will get more e-mails—yet the number of subscribers to the ComebackTown newsletter continues to grow. (To sign up–click here). When we have an opportunity to mobilize people who care about Birmingham this e-mail newsletter is loaded and ready to go.
Greater Birmingham is a wonderful place to live.
Let’s keep the conversation going—we’re getting better all the time.
Let’s turn Birmingham around. Click here to sign up for our newsletter. There’s power in numbers. (Opt out at any time)
David Sher is Co-Founder of AmSher Compassionate Collections. He’s past Chairman of the Birmingham Regional Chamber of Commerce (BBA), Operation New Birmingham (REV Birmingham), and the City Action Partnership (CAP).
Invite David to speak to your group about a better Birmingham. firstname.lastname@example.org