‘Hyperlocal’ has been a buzzword in the online engagement community for about eighteen months, and to be honest it’s not one I’ve been comfortable with: why try and define a sub-category of ‘local’ which is itself pretty undefinable?
I still have a bit of a problem with it, but yesterday it did become clearer to me just how much can be gained by people investigating, reporting on and engaging with the things that happen in and affect their immediate locality.
I was at Talk About Local’s second un-conference, this time held in Leeds. The last one – in Stoke-on-Trent – was full of enthusiastic people wanting to do great things; but it left me a little worried that we (the social media evangelists) were leading them up a garden path, to be disillusioned when their enthusiasm wasn’t met with an audience and thrown unsuspectingly into a pit of libel lawyers.
However, things have moved on very positively. People are finding their feet, a solid sense of purpose and determination has set in, and the enthusiasm to share knowledge and experience is as strong as ever.
I arrived late: partly because we never intended to be early and partly because we couldn’t find the venue. The man in the car park said: “See that concrete building? It’s behind that”. He should have said: “See that concrete building? That’s it”.
So I joined in halfway through the second session, attaching myself to a group discussing the legal dangers of citizen reporting.
I attended three discussions during the course of the day, for which I made notes: