The New Local

Web 2.0 has certainly connected individuals across vast distances.  Serbian teenagers comment on a New Jersey rock band’s YouTube videos and individual New Yorkers make microfinance loans to India via kiva.org  (Thanks, Tom Watson).  We could be forgiven for concentrating on these continent- spanning global impacts.  However, there is a potentially even more significant explosion in hyper-local blogging: blogs about a street, a neighborhood or a community.  These so-called placeblogs now have their own website, www.placeblogger.com.  Yes, these sites list restaurant reviews, help residents exchange ideas about nannies and post municipal recycling calendars.  For the corporate communications professional, however, it is other content that raises questions.  Before placeblogging, the citizen who noticed that the beans inventory at the local coffee shop appeared to be winding down might have mentioned this to a friend.  Today, that person posting to a placeblog  could set off speculations about an imminent shutdown.   Did your company end its landscaping contract at a facility three months before those operations are slated to move to another state?  Someone will notice and that someone will post.  So now you have a new data stream to pay attention to.  These community rumblings will be of most interest to regulated industries, but any company that values good community relations needs to be watching placeblogs whereever it has operations

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