Friday, March 21, 2008

Hyperlocal: where is the citizen media in small-town America?

Compared to people in the big cities, citizen media activity is mostly limited to pictures on Flickr. Steven Clift at the PBS Idealab finds that few small town people care to participate in forums, write blog posts, shoot and post videos and do all the things that apartment-living, "pressed for outdoors" us big city folks do.

Small Town America does not Twitter that much. Steven writes:
I've stumbled across a number of sites like Flickrvision and its cousin Twittervision which show real-time geo-tagged content. Panoramio shows photos from Google Earth. Placeopedia and WikiMapia are trying to get people to manually link place-based Wikipedia pages to maps. My friends with Placeblogger allow you to search by place, but I don't want to type in village after village. The best site I've found that seems to get, is FindNearBy.Net which maps Craiglist and EBay sale items.

All in all, touristic rural areas do pretty well with photos online, but finding blogs/blog posts, video, wiki pages, online forums without highly focused geographic term searches seems near impossible. ...

How can we explain this?
1. Hyperlocal is an acquired taste. The failure of Backfence is case in point. Everyblock is working so far because it works more on the automatic aggregation lines, relying on government data for things like police records. Besides, it focuses on big cities including New York only.

2. Hyperlocal needs proactive hand-holding - where editors and link curators encourage and help out local contributors, doing events and so on.

Thanks for the link

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