Ludington Talks (aka Picture This!), Ludington's First Social Networking Site, is Gone

Ludington Talks, the county's original social network ran by Shoreline Media, the good people who run the Mason and Oceana County newspapers, was a forum which many of our older members remember contributing to.  It was around for a couple of years when I wrote my first internet post on Ludington Talks in April of 2009.  It looks to have went off the internet earlier today, and has stayed off.

Talks during that time was a hotbed of social and political speech, with people who went by pseudonyms like Zannie, Behr Gone Wild, Tuebor, Blinky, and others who had a progressive outlook taking their stance, and Guido, JMA, Edie Lindsey, Max, King Neptune, and Big Dave taking a more conservative view.  It led to some good discussions which sometimes led to some involvement by the moderators.   

It spawned other offshoots sponsored by Shoreline Media:  Manistee Talks, Oceana Talks and Whitehall Talks.  But the site's moderator's quickness at expelling people for violating some nebulous rules also led to a couple of privately ran social networking sites by the end of the year.  Lakeshore Soup attracted a variety of individuals to their website in the summer and fall of 2009, but they also decided that some members were more equal than others, when the liberal creator of that site purged the conservative and libertarian viewpoints from it so that it could have a more uniform progressive viewpoint. 

Both the Talks sites and the Lakeshore Soup site fell short in their provisions to keep the line of talk open in our area, they were both ready to duck the truly controversial issues either because of their sponsors (Talks) or because they felt obligated to defend and spotlight their own political agenda (Soup).  The time was right for a new social networking site to come forth, one that would be more in line with the democratic principles of free speech and expression, even speech that may have been uncomfortable to talk about.  That forum was this one.

After the Ning sites went to being pay sites, it wasn't long before the Soup dropped out quickly thereafter, in August of 2010.  The Talks franchise also consolidated itself at this point, retaining only the Ludington Talks as its sole active site.  The creators of the site distanced themselves and they tried to tweak the site a couple of times, losing what few contributors still paying attention by the end of that year when they stayed off for days for maintenance or other reasons. 

In 2011, it renamed itself as Picture This!, and became a Ludington area photo sharing site, without an active forum, which it continued to be until its demise earlier today.  While it's loss is sad, and its disappearance is sad for our community because it had some quality area pictures, it is par for the course as to how that website ran.  Individual content is lost and likely lost forever.

If the Ludington Torch was to ever go under like all of these other local websites have done, we would make sure that our members would get plenty of notice before we close shop.  It is only common courtesy to allow people to save content that they put up and may want to keep for whatever reason.  I have no plans on shutting the doors here at the Ludington Torch any time soon, you can rest assured that I will do my damndest to keep this taper lit. 

Don't be surprised, however, if we do transmigrate to the new version of Ning that should be coming out soon, but barring software glitches, we'll keep everything intact.

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For a long time, it was an interesting forum, until, it became so one sided. That's when I lost interest.

LDN wanted a G-rated forum but to many of the topics  were difficult to discuss without some friction between posters and their opposing viewpoints while others were on the forum just to cause trouble.

I think I was pegged as a trouble-maker by their founders, but all I wanted to do was try to use that forum to bring awareness of the corruption that existed in the City and County.  I was thrown off that forum more times than I care to remember for stating what I do here regularly in reporting what our local governments are doing that is wrong or at least debatably silly.

I agree with john, X has done an exceptional job of putting this forum together and providing the community with an open forum to discuss their concerns. Most everyone on LT received warnings about what they were posting. Andy was trying to guide the forum to become a civil and polite place to converse. Unfortunately that's not how people exchange ideas that are important to them especially when many of the topics were controversial. I for one had no idea about the petty politics and the abhorrent way City officials were shredding the Constitution while carrying out personal vendettas. X helped expose the truth about the corruption and misdeeds of the politicians and law enforcement. It was a real eye opener to compare X's articles and information to what was being disseminated by the City Council and the LDN. X researched and exposed the truth while LDN held back information while reporting inaccurate, incomplete and sometimes erroneous information. Great job X.

If John Streeter provided a list of officers who did drugs, or intended to make such list available, I just might take the content off if it was put up recklessly.  If he had some evidence to that fact posted along with it, or evidence that he had brought his concerns up elsewhere and was ignored, it would be news in the public interest. 

When police officers in Michigan break the law, the people have few means of recourse to get those officers accounted for, barring an increasingly rare-to-find conscientious police administrator.  The Attorney General is more geared to defending the State Police rather than keeping them honest, and don't count on them or County Prosecutors going after lower level police officers on criminal charges unless the effort to do so is initiated by fellow police officers.

Having been thrown off Ludington Talks several times, I can safely say that it was for nothing that was found in the 'terms of service' for that site.  But I continued to join, because I thought the actions of the City and the local courts were incredibly unethical and unlawful-- and it's only getting worse-- and getting awareness of that out to the public, if only for a brief time, was useful. 


You wouldn't be the only person around here that tried to make things better for all and be stopped by the subtle, yet powerful clique in this City that want things on their own progressive terms.

You would think that a website ran by a news agency would appreciate getting free tips from the public about the people who supposedly serve the public and are transgressing.  Not the case; Shoreline Media since at least the Talks era has only tried to suppress such material reaching the public. 

Most people that don't read the Ludington Torch do not realize that the people (with my shaky skills at prosecution) won three court battles against the City of Ludington and/or John Shay for First, Fifth and Fourteenth Amendment violations in Federal Court (settled in my favor), Open Meeting Act violations (illegal E-mail meetings exposed) in an unfriendly Circuit Court, and FOIA disclosure in the Michigan Appeals Court.  According to the COLDNews, 1)  I'm the problem, 2)  the City of Ludington and John Shay are freaking awesome, and 3)  the people's rights to information, open meetings, free speech, and due process of law are not worth defending. 

As for your closing statements, shameless brown-nosing is not encouraged, but always appreciated here.

Yup, you're right Streeter. I too remember your charity drive for that individual, and it was sad to see what the LDN did in that instance. It took me a while to figure all the disgusting acts that Andy was doing, but, he and the staff over there just couldn't handle the truth. A long time ago, WKLA also had a talk forum, Ludington Talks, right on the radio after the evening news about 6:30pm. When locals voiced their frank and truthful opinions too often, without the 6 second delay of nowadays, they also closed it up. It took a little prodding, several pc's, and some compliments at first to launch this new site. Congrats to XLFD for being a very astute and honest observer of the local scene, doing an excellent job for all of us to have truth and investigative reporting of local affairs and people, something sorely lacking in all other local media outlets.

Actually I heard the Ludington News readership has declined and Mason County Press is prevailing with on top news flashes and news as it happens. Then on facebook there is now several "online type garage sale" type sites that many don't even need to advertise selling items. I get it to light my wood stove and find out if I am still alive.

I was thinking about that site and wonder what the great defenders of the ObamaCare think now and when even more changes occur next year to cost us even more out of pocket. I did not realize it had gone under but I am not surprised.   Nor am I surprised the extremists at the soup shut down. Now that I am back to work, it seems I am even busier now and just don't have time tp be pm jere ,icj/

Or the time to proofread that last sentence, LOL.  We're always glad to hear from you when you can spare the time, Masonco.


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