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Lalawag hopes to get tongues wagging about L.A. technology

December 26, 2008 |  2:51 pm

Twiistup It might be the final sign that the L.A. tech scene is something to be reckoned with. Months after Gawker Media laid off much of the staff of Silicon Valley news and gossip site Valleywag, an independent news and gossip site has been created in Los Angeles to focus on firings, hirings and romances in the L.A. tech scene. It's called Lalawag but has no association with Valleywag.

"There's a lot going on in this community and there's not a lot of really great coverage of it," said founder Sean Percival, whose day job is as the content director of start-up Tsavo. He and two paid staffers will do videos of events around town and even plan some events of their own.

Still, not everybody might be happy that a Valleywag-like site has made it to L.A. Who wants to have the fact that they've been laid off or too drunk at the office holiday party broadcast to people you might want to work with down the road? Percival says those people don't have to worry.

"I'm not looking to be hated, just mildly feared," he said.

Andrew Warner, founder of mixergy.com, an events website for start-ups, said L.A. tech geeks might not mind being gossiped about on a public blog. This is Hollywood, after all.

"People here are much more excited about being talked about in any way," he said. "Even if it's like the supermarket tabloids, they'll be secretly excited about it."

Valleywag's snarky tone has generated criticism over the years from people who describe it as inaccurate or sexist. One posting, for example, called Facebook's female employees "Valley foxes" and described one particularly attractive employee as "best appreciated with the mute button on."

"They're really gossipy; they don't care about people's reputations," said Adriana Gascoigne, who founded Girls in Tech, an organization to bring together women working in technology.

She remembers being asked whether she would enter a video blogging contest for Valleywag, thinking it was a contest to determine the best video blogger in Silicon Valley. She was surprised when it turned into a monthlong contest about who was the "hottest" blogger in Silicon Valley. Still, she thinks Lalawag will be a good thing for L.A. -- if it takes an approach different from Valleywag's.

"L.A. is a huge, growing digital hub," Gascoigne said. "It's important that somebody talks about it and really highlights the activity taking place."

-- Alana Semuels

Photo: Lalawag will cover the L.A. tech scene, pictured here at Twiistup. Credit: Mike Macaadan via Flickr

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