The dialogue on ultra or hyperlocal publishing around this site has led me to create a proposal to help active citizens create ultra or hyperlocal sites about their neighbourhood/community/locality. The proposal is about skills, not technology platforms and has the working title ‘Talk About Local’. I have been driven by my own experience in Kings Cross and inspired by wonderful community resources we have discussed on this site such as Parwich, Digbeth and Formby.
Talk About Local intends to train thousands of people who don’t have a voice to find a powerful online expression for their neighbourhoods, even if they can’t use the internet today. The project will create a legacy of independent community sites across the country, owned, mainstreamed and updated by ordinary local people as a volunteer effort.
Talk About Local will train several thousand people in 150 disadvantaged places in England to set up locality/community/neighbourhood based websites. The project will use UK online centres as its delivery backbone. Talk About Local will catalyse an online resource and community for people publishing neighbourhood or community websites, so that people can help each other.
Talk About Local is about giving people skills and empowering communities. The project will empower active citizens who already have a burning need to communicate as they campaign for cleaner streets, better schools, activities for young people or put on local arts or organise a village fete. Talk About Local will give these citizens the basic skills to communicate online more effectively and at less cost than using traditional means. By networking citizens together, they will be able support each other in their local activism, as well as on technical publishing issues. This will lead to stronger more effective community action.
Talk About Local is not about building new technology platforms. The project will train people to use powerful but easy to use free platforms such as Typepad, WordPress, Blogger, YouTube, Face Book discussion forums etc. Talk About Local will be sustainable as it aims to train people who already volunteer their time to use free platforms.
Talk About Local will be a not for profit organisation, possibly a charity in the medium term. It intends to raise money to spend on training, it is not a commercial, revenue raising model.
The aims of the project will only be delivered through partnership. Talk About Local intends to partner with the UK online centres network of 6,000 centres in the most deprived parts of England that exist to give people the skills and confidence to use the internet. We are open to approaches from other partners, we are talking to media organisations, regional development bodies and technology companies.
Talk About Local is working with 4IP, the innovation arm of the UK public service broadcaster Channel 4 to bring a partnership together. The Chief Executive of Channel 4 referred to the project in a speech at this link. If you wish to partner this project we’d love to here from you contact me via firstname.lastname@example.org