Hyperlocal: Passion, reawakened

I’m getting deeply engaged with both the platform questions about social software and citizen journalism /participatory media, and the community benefit of creating local community, news, and organizing/meet up sites.
My early roots in the Web were p artly in local; it’s an interest I’ve never lost, but now that I am out of Yahoo!, the interest is intensifying once again. I’ve been close to and engaged with local efforts as an advisor, ( Placeblogger, Dan’s projects), but I’m thinking harder about what’s needed for local and asking myself if, before I get engaged in other projects, there’s some things I could do to move the conversation–and the toolkits–along.
Thinking that the answer is yes, I’m putting some ideas together, and also planning to attend the Berkman Center’s conference on March 27 & 28th at USC Annenberg School for Communication in Los Angeles. Called Re: Public, this McArthur-funded effort will look at the state of participatory media and explore future directions.
What is particularly exciting to me, and is matching the way some of my own interest in local is now trending, is the conscious and deliberate connection between quality of life in local communities, ability to give the citizenry both a voice and tools to organize/address issues, and how these two factors combine to support sustainability/viability for local grassroots media and tech-driven aggregations that wrap around them.
In other words, what keeps people coming back isn’t the movie reviews their neighbors write, it’s the chance to not only complain about a problem, but to have tools right there online to do something about it (like organize or write a letter).
Or to put it another way, my latest view of social software for communities is that it should use technology to pull in all sorts of feeds and data, but that the best products also contain ways to publish and discuss original content, AND take action tool sets more commonly seen in political campaigns.
Given the election year, and the general excellence of the Berkman Center, I’m looking forward to seeing what John Palfrey, David Weinberger, Lisa Williams, Doc Searls, Tony Pierce and others have to say–and of course, the best conversations are in the corners, right?

Latest Comments

  1. Bob Robertson-Boyd says:

    Grassroots efforts at the local level need tools scaled to the size of the community. Right now I see a lot of content aggregation at the local level, but it is automated (like the old MS Sidewalk vs. AOL/Tribune’s Digital Cities). Automation causes a flood of irrelevant information with few filters for refining. The tools we use to organize ourselves online suffer from the same problem. We need organization tools that ‘know’ our communities and scale appropriately.

Latest Comments

Comments are closed.