4 interesting examples of hyperlocal social media
Human participation -- and thus social media -- is central to successful hyperlocal platforms. It's all about community empowerment. The digital age has seen the collapsing of the wall that has traditionally separated a neighborhood publication from its readers, leading to literal public arenas -- as in the case of the Journal Register's 13,000-square-foot community space -- as well as to innovative social media ideas.
Here are 4 interesting hyperlocal social media ideas.
EveryBlock's Neighborhood Honors
EveryBlock began in 2007 as a Knight-funded hyperlocal start-up providing geographically relevant news and was bought by MSNBC in 2009. They are now undergoing their first renovation, moving from civic information towards a focus on community discussion. "As valuable as automated updates of crime, media mentions, and other EveryBlock news are, contributions from your fellow neighbors are significantly more meaningful and useful," blogs Adam Holovaty, EveryBlock's founder.
EveryBlock's Neighborhood Honors program is a simple but smart idea. The goal is to encourage positive community behavior through a rewards system (there really is no escape from social gaming nowadays). Registered users will start at "Neighbor," the first Neighborhood Honors level. When a contributor hits the "Thanks" button or receives a "Thanks" from another community member, that user will receive points towards the next level.
After "Neighbor," the next level is "Active Resident," then "Block Booster," then "Community Champion" ultimately culminating in"Neighborhood Hero." Contributor comments and posts also add points, and lack of activity over a period of time results in a point decrease.
Originally launched in Chicago, New York and San Francisco, EveryBlock currently covers Boston, DC, Philadelphia, Detroit, Charlotte, Atlanta, Miami, Houston, Dallas, LA, San Jose, Portland and Seattle.
Color is a free downloadable app that makes photos taken within 100 feet of the place they was taken public.
Color -- demo here -- is attracting a tremendous amount of attention, mostly because of its controversial $41 million in funding. Users converse and collaborate in images, video and text through a photo diary.
This, of course, is a tremendous boon to lean hyperlocal organizations. It could conceivably create vivid representations of neighborhoods, the limits of this is only the human imagination. The jury is still out on whether or not this ultimately lives up to all the hype, but on the face of it the idea is one of the most interesting in quite some time.
There's a lot of experimenting going on at mobile photojournalism platform Tackable (still in beta), which aspires to be the social network for user-generated photojournalism. Tackable embraces citizen journalism, but resists the accompanying nihilism so prevalent nowadays.
"Tackable is embracing spontaneous journalism, because we believe it’s a powerful force for good," blogs Luke Stangel, the platform's co-founder. "Our challenge in the coming months will be to define our platform’s boundaries, and begin setting up the framework for organized spontaneous journalism."
Tackable initial iteration was as a flat social network empowering anyone to upload photos and create photojournalism assignments. Their second iteration was a geographically-focused app emphasizing live photos that was heavily integrated with Facebook Connect. The next iteration is still in production.
"Tackable is — on some level — a real-world social game," Stangel told Scribe Media. "Our early challenge has been to understand why people would want to share live photos with the public, and how we can encourage a new social behavior."
Village Voice 'Best Of' app
The Village Voice hasn't been nearly as relevant as it once was for quite some time now. But The Voice's annual "Best Of" issue is an always highly anticipated event. This free GPS-enabled "Best Of" app is a well-executed and smart idea whose time has come. It even answers the age-old question: Where do you get the best baked potato in your city?
Leveraging Village Voice Media's trusted reputation for impeccable food and culture criticism, the Voice editorially curates local recommendations across those and other nightlife and recreationally associated categories. One can imagine that this is the sort of thing that advertisers will go mad for.
"Featuring more than 10,000 of the best things to eat, drink, buy, and experience in cities all across the U.S., the app is built from our annual Best of issue and features recommendations on nearly every block in New York City," blogs the Voice. "You can browse winners by category, neighborhood, or your current location, as well as keep track via Facebook of where you've been and where you'd like to go."
And Phase 2, Techcrunch informs us, will involve Foursquare integration. Cannot. Wait.