Out Of Hours Hyperlocal, five weeks in

March 6th, 2013 by Jerome Turner in Hyperlocal | no comments

A while ago I blogged here about Out Of Hours Hyperlocal, a weekly Google Hangout serving as a meeting place for those interested in hyperlocal web news publishing.

The first two sessions were for general discussion and weren’t recorded, and then I started to theme them, with the last three being on: video for hyperlocal; issues around moderating comments; a presentation and discussion of the Creative Citizens content analysis. Below is a series of excerpts I put together for our stand at the AHRC’s Connected Communities showcase on March 12th.

I’ve also been gathering related tweets in a series of Storify pages here, here and here.

The discussions in the Hangouts have been fascinating and useful, for putting us (and our research) in front of the practitioners, thinkers, and general public. It has placed what are often seen to be opposed groups of people in discussion together (e.g. council employees and hyperlocal bloggers) and offered real insights into what is happening on the ground level within this odd thing we call ‘hyperlocal’ (odd, I suppose, because it is a word that is so celebrated and possibly over-used at the moment, without often demonstrating what the practices are really about). We have had speakers from around the UK and America, met some new people, and built a growing base of interested parties who take part or tweet questions for the discussions, often continuing the discussion on Twitter or Google+ afterwards. I’d like to note that the Google Plus Hyperlocal UK Community has also been very helpful in getting the word out about the Hangouts.

But maybe most importantly, OOH Hyperlocal seems to haveachieved what I initially set out to do, which was provide a space for those people who couldn’t get to the usual events (because of distance, travel, etc) and who worked full time so might have very few peer hyperlocal discussions otherwise. In the first instance, I assumed it would be helpful for people to know they had somewhere to regularly ‘go’ like this. The idea of recording the Hangouts for others to digest later, and that this might also be considered a research activity, came later.

oohhyperlocal

We are now discussing how to maintain momentum with the group, and how the Hangouts might align with, explore, expand on, and answer some of our research questions in the hyperlocal strand of our research.

And of course, if you’d like to join us in the Hangouts, you’re welcome. All you need is a Google+ account, which is easily done if you use gmail already. Then you need a mic and/or webcam to chat, or you can contribute via the text chat. The Hangouts are 9pm GMT every Thursday. To find out more or sign up for a Hangout, tweet @jezturner or follow the hashtag #oohhyperlocal.

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