It's been a tough year for Oakland.
The recent anniversary of the Occupy movement brought back memories of the October 2011 clashes between police and protesters in the city. Since the riots, city officials have been repeatedly criticized for their response, and that criticism contributed to unsuccessful efforts to recall Mayor Jean Quan. It was one of several controversies the mayor faced in the past year. And, oh yeah, the Golden State Warriors have announced they're leaving the city, and the Oakland A's might not be far behind.
At times like these, at least Oakland residents can turn to the Internet for a bit of good cheer and positivity. Online, the city and its residents are creative and funny. They make great YouTube videos, gain big followings on the latest social networks and occasionally have a lot of fun at their own expense.
Don't believe me? Here are five reasons why Oakland is hella awesome on the Internet:
1. Oakland has given us some of the biggest Pinterest accounts. Sure, you might expect that Raiders and A's fans would dominate the comments sections of Oakland stories on sports blogs. But you might be surprised to learn that Oakland residents run some of the most popular accounts on Pinterest, the San Francisco-based social network known best for photos of design projects, tasty desserts and wedding garb. Last week our colleagues at Oakland Local profiled three of those residents - Vanessa Correa, Maia McDonald and Christine Martinez. Correa is a creative director, while McDonald is a graphic designer and Martinez ran an online boutique which sold Latin American-inspired crafts. The three credit Oakland with providing some of their creative inspiration.
Correa moved with her husband and daughter to Oakland nearly four years ago.
“I can’t imagine living anywhere else ... even in the Bay Area,” she said. “People are willing to try things. Its inspirational from a perspective of warmth and openness.
"Because people are so open to new ideas, like Pinterest, people are open to new experiences.”
2. It birthed @MCHammer and is home to @BMcCarthy32. Those are the Twitter handles of Oakland native M.C. Hammer and Oakland A's pitcher Brandon McCarthy, respectively. Hammer was arguably one of the first celebrities to take to Twitter, and he's built a following of 2.8 million by interacting with fans, Tweeting performance photos...
...and re-Tweeting news he finds interesting.
McCarthy, meanwhile, made headlines in April when he Tweeted that the display of two men on a stadium kiss cam was homophobic, and this week Sports Illustrated named him to its list of top 100 sports Tweeters. But you shouldn't follow his Twitter account just because he made news. Follow McCarthy because he's hilarious, as shown by what he's been Tweeting recently during his recovery from emergency brain surgery.
3. Oakland sports fans get creative when showing love for their teams online. Don't get us wrong, Oakland Raiders fans have made some great videos about their team and shared them on YouTube. There's "S*** People Say to Raider Fans" ("Are the Raiders in L.A.?" "Are the Raiders still in the NFL?"); "Hitler Gets Mad About the Raiders Losing Streak"; a video of a Raider Nation flash mob (spoiler alert: they don't dance); and an odd look at what happens when Raiders fans get way into "World of Warcraft" ("Gannondorf.")
4. Oakland residents can keep it real on Twitter... In February 2011 several Tweets from this guy helped #younotfromoakland become a trend on Twitter. Many of the Tweets reference the names of neighborhood spots that only long-time residents of the city will recognize. Here are a few that may be understood by non-Oakland residents:
5. ... and they can laugh at themselves and their city online. Nobody knows how to have fun at Oakland's expense like Oakland residents. For example, check out "When in Oakland," a Tumblr which uses .gifs to show how residents might feel "When Lew Wolff Talks About Moving the A's to San Jose" and "When Your Friend Tells You She Does Not Have Insurance and She Has to Go to Highland." Then there were some of the comments left by residents on a 2009 SFGate.com post headlined "Why I Love Oakland." And of course, there is "S*** Oakland Says":
What do you think? Is Oakland the most awesome Bay Area city on the Internet? Are there great Oakland videos or blog posts we missed? Leave a comment and let us know.