I had an enjoyable time on Saturday at the Talk About Local unconference, where lots of people involved in hyperlocal websites get together to share stories and experiences and to figure out answers to tricky questions.
There tends to be two angles with hyperlocal – the future of local journalism stuff which I tend to find rather dull; and then the community activist side, which is a bit more interesting.
I enjoyed the session organised by Vicky Sargent on neighbourhood planning and hyperlocals. We’re supporting a local neighbourhood plan initiative with web stuff – see A Plan for Holbeach – and of course there is our site for NALC too.
Vicky has a web tool coming out soon to support local groups in putting together neighbourhood plans – which ought to be pretty useful and I’m looking forward to seeing more on that.
Philip John – a Kind of Digital team member – ran a session proposing the Hyperlocal Alliance, which sounds like a great initiative and you can find out more about that here.
I didn’t run any sessions – I’m not really a hyperlocalist myself and was mainly in listening mode – but I have kicked off a project to openly collaborate on a hyperlocal handbook. Do join in!
From Rich Millington, in his post “The Tragic Story Of Hyperlocal Communities“:
If we want to build hyperlocal communities, we have to change the way we think about them. This isn’t a technology problem to solve (Facebook-style). Enabling everyone to start a hyperlocal community wont make it happen. This isn’t a content problem to solve (local news style). Pulling in RSS feeds and encouraging user generated content wont solve the problem.
What we need is a genuine community building approach. You identify your first members, initiate discussions, invite members to participate in those discussions, write content about what’s happening in the community, and repeat as you grow.