diamond geezer

 Monday, September 27, 2010

One of the latest phrases in blogging and the media is "hyperlocal". That's keeping in touch with what's going down in the neighbourhood, and reporting back on events from round about. National and regional news is all very well and good, but what people also need is to know what's happening round the corner. Communal content, that's where it's at.

TV can never drill down far enough to be hyperlocal. Watching a regional news broadcast means sitting through lots of things of no hyperlocal relevance whatsoever. Londoners have it good in that several stories usually relate to citywide issues, but this still leaves folk in Watford or Sevenoaks or Chelmsford thinking "oh for goodness sake, what has this to do with me?" Equally any TV news service aimed solely at Watford, or West Watford, or even the Cassiobury Park end of Gade Avenue, would lose money hand over fist.

So web-based hyperlocal services are surely the way to go. Citizens can supplement their media diet with a feed of stories from very-nearby, like when the next jumble sale is, and who's got a planning application in, and what's wrong with the lamppost on the corner by the postbox. Hyperlocal blogging is a model that can take off anywhere, so long as those behind the project have sufficient enthusiasm (and so long as the community notices and joins in). It works brilliantly in the Derbyshire village of Parwich, for example, and in Ventnor on the Isle of Wight and in Swanage. But it's patchy is hyperlocality, very patchy.

There was a conference over the weekend on the South Bank where various hyperlocal players in London came together to discuss issues and cooperation going forward. I didn't go, but Jason's written a report, Sarah has some thoughts and Hugh even has some photos. It seems London is a perfect arena for all things hyperlocal, because tens of thousands of people live within a mile of someone else. And yet some parts of town (notably the southeast) have blog after blog after blog based a few streets apart, while other neighbourhoods have virtually no voice at all.

Some hyperlocal London blogs: Beckenham, Blackheath, Brixton, Brixton, Brockley, Creekside, Deptford, Greenwich, Greenwich, Hackney, Harringay, Kensal Rise, Kidbrooke, King's Cross, Leabank Square, New Cross, Newham, Shepherd's Bush, Spitalfields, Stockwell, SE1, SE11, West Hampstead, Willesden
[This is a very subjective list. It's also almost certainly incomplete, so I'm more than willing to add to it if you let me know. But I'm not including blatantly commercial platforms, nor sporadic posters, nor the geographically diffuse, so I reserve the right not to include all suggestions]

My blog isn't hyperlocal. I write about various bits of London, but not one specific area. I may live in Bow, but I don't write about it very often. If I want to find out what's going on round here I have to check the local paper, or council news, or look around for myself. I've uncovered one recent local blog (hello!), but other than that London E3 goes mostly unreported.

So I thought I'd start a hyperlocal blog of my own. I mean, why not? I've called it eethree (because ethree and e-three were already taken), and it's already up and running. Don't get excited, there's nothing on there you haven't read already. I've uploaded all my E3-related posts from the last couple of years to create a brief backstory, and now all that's missing is the new stuff. Maybe you'd help me write it.

I don't have time to maintain two blogs, not properly, so I'd be delighted if certain local folk could help me out with the new one. Let me know, and I'll add friendly literate authors to my eethree permissions list. Only news and comment from the E3 postcode will be permitted. That includes Mile End, Bow and Bromley-by-Bow, even Three Mills and Fish Island, but not Victoria Park or the Olympic Park. Please let's have nothing extreme, nor rampantly advertorial, nor anything applicable to Tower Hamlets as a whole. I reserve the right to moderate what gets churned out, or even to delete the entire project if it doesn't work. But let's hope eethree takes off. HyperEastEndlocality, it's the future you know.

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