Tag: hyperlocal

The value of Social Media in neighbourhoods and appealing to communities

Yesterday a sad thing happened; 2 children went missing. It was presumed at the time that they’d gone of their own volition and they were later found well and safe, but none the less it was an awful thing to happen.

This all happened in Darlaston, 5 miles from my house, in Wednesfield and as such when the press release went out appealing for witnesses we posted it to the WV11 site and Facebook page. We were aware that while the children weren’t strictly from the WV11 area our readership expands beyond our borders, and friends,and friends of friends,  would most definitely cross over into Darlaston and the surrounding areas.

We posted the photo from the appeal along with the copied the police release verbatim,  all we added to the post was two words at the end “please share”

And share people did.

Within an hour 565 people had re-posted the news direct from our facebook page and less than 2 hours later that number had jumped to 1984!

It seems to me 2 things had happened to make the numbers jump like that  – every parent that uses our site could empathise with the  situation these parents were in, no one can imagine, or would want to imagine, what it feels like to find your child missing like that, and going on the old adage that “it takes a village to raise a child” everyone wanted to help raise awareness to bring these children home safely.

The other thing that happened was we were there, we were local and we we part of the community and we appealed to them directly with the “please share”!

Darlaston falls under Walsall Council  but it is fairly close to the border with Wolverhampton. Both Councils picked up the police release and shared to their facebook pages, Walsall’s post was shared 20 times, Wolverhampton’s 136.

The local radio station, Free Radio also picked up on it and shared to their page too, Their story was shared 550 times.

Looking at those figures it seems clear that being community based and very local really had an impact on the way the community interacted with the appeal.

The important thing here of course is that the children were found and returned home safe and well,  but as an observation it is interesting how much being part of a community can make a difference



Wikipedia goes local in Monmouth


Since it’s launch in 2001 Wikipedia has been growing at a rapid pace. Its army of volunteer collaborators have now edited more than 20 million articles in just under 300 languages worldwide and it is still growing.

So what’s next?

This year Wikipedia are launching Monmouthpedia, it’s first venture based on location,  a community collaboration for town centric Wikipedia pages. The hope being that residents and visitors will contribute articles and photographs on interesting and notable places, people, artefacts and other aspects of Monmouth life. QRpedia codes could then be placed near points of interest around the town for smartphone users to scan and view the relevant Wikipedia/Monmouthpedia page right on their phone.

The Wikipedia page for the Monmouthpedia project adds:

Articles will have coordinates (geotags) to allow a virtual tour of the town using the Wikipedia layer on Google StreetviewGoogle Maps and will be available in augmented reality software including Layar.

Could you see this model being useful for where you live?

The collaborative part of Wikipedia has always intrigued me and I’d be really interested in seeing it put to work on such a local level.

Image used under Creative Commons: James Stringer

#hyperbbcwm Notes (part 1) of a discussion between BBC staff and hyperlocal bloggers in the West Midlands

Gavin Wray’s notes from table 3

Table Three discussing hyperlocal blogs and the BBC
Table Three discussing hyperlocal blogs and the BBC - source podnosh on flickr

Access and archives

Bloggers mentioned copyright as the main barrier to exposing content in the BBC archives to a wider, and local, audience.

Frustrated when historical archives are copyrighted, preventing you sharing it with your audience. One volunteer wants to share old photos of areas around Birmingham city centre for others to reminisce, share stories or simply for curiousity. Copyrighted BBC content, in the iPlayer for example, prevents content being put in the public space for comment, discussion and consumption.

There is also a wealth of great archive content by the BBC, spanning decades of local media, that isn’t yet online. There’s lots of interest in this.

Video of Nicky Getgood talking with Robin Morley asking Read more