Since You Asked: Whatever happened to RogueCurrent?
About 10 years ago, the Mail Tribune had a website called RogueCurrent. I really miss it, and I don’t have any idea why you don’t have it anymore or how to get it back. I’d be happy to pay for it, even though I remember it being free with my subscription. I remember it had templates for a web page, you could add friends and send messages, you could put up photos and videos. It even had an RSS feed on it. I’d be thrilled to have it back.
— Tracy J., via phone
It’s no longer a live link, but you’re far from the only one who remembers RogueCurrent, Tracy.
RogueCurrent members were free to post blogs, photos and videos, send messages to other members and “take part in discussion groups on everything from movies to history, pets to farmers markets, coffee to smoking,” according to snippets from the spring 2009 edition of Our Valley, which carried the theme of “Our Virtual Valley.”
Our archives show that for about a year starting in early 2009, there was a big push for RogueCurrent — along with a sister site for the Ashland Tidings called ConnectAshland.
The sites were an attempt to create an online community for Mail Tribune readers, like a local version of Facebook, but well before the social media company became the gorilla it is today.
There was a local history group, a gluten-free group and a Rogue Valley resident living in Qingdao, China, who used the site to stay in touch with friends and family, according to our archives.
The push died down by the end of the year. The site was used to host a photo gallery for a benefit fun run in October 2009, then was never mentioned again.
Why did a newspaper want its own social media site? Well, when telling RogueCurrent’s story, it helps to note the Mail Tribune has changed owners twice since 2009.
At the time, the Southern Oregon newspapers were an itty-bitty slice of Rupert Murdoch’s NewsCorp media empire, and the idea of a local social network seemed to make a lot of sense to the people who made the big bucks. NewsCorp had purchased MySpace a few years prior in what’s now remembered as a $580 million blunder.
Those former owners thought if people used our platform to post their photos and their blogs, it would give the newspapers a steady stream of things they could post on our pages. For whatever reason, however, it never really panned out.
As exemplified in your query, RogueCurrent clearly had fans, and it gave locals a novel tool to interact in an era before Facebook reached critical mass.
As for RogueCurrent’s return, we’d never say never, but it would take more than one avid user to bring RogueCurrent out of mothballs.
Send questions to “Since You Asked,” Mail Tribune Newsroom, P.O. Box 1108, Medford, OR 97501 or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org.