What is Talk About Local about?
Talk About Local is a project to give people in their communities a powerful online voice. We want to help people communicate and campaign more effectively and influence events in the places in which they live, work or play. To get things done you need to communicate, the web helps you do it better using less of your precious time.
We see many communities campaigning on local issues, organising themselves or just having fun talking about day to day stuff on the web. Often a community with a good online voice has just been lucky enough to have a person there who can publish on the internet. We want as many communities as possible to have these skills, for free as a public service by training people, mainly through the UK online centre network.
How will Talk About Local work?
Talk About Local will work with people in their communities to help people find a more powerful voice online. Talk About Local will show people how to use simple, free yet powerful platforms like blogger.com, wordpress.com or typepad.com to express themselves. Our main delivery partner will be the UK online centre network but we shall work with other partners – if you want to partner, drop us a line firstname.lastname@example.org or via the contact form below.
A new Talk About Local website will support everyone who wants a community website, including those who have been through Talk About Local sessions. The site will help network together people who are campaigning to get similar things done in their communities but in different parts of the country – have a look at the wonderful Noise Abatement Society forum to see how this can work well.
How will Talk About Local be delivered?
We are teaming up with UK online centres to bring these skills to over a hundred places with face to face advice and support. We hope to help thousands of people that way. We are also setting up a website to network together local community activists across the country so that they can help each other get things done in their communities. We hope to reach many many more people through the site.
I want one of these websites in my community when can Talk About Local come and help me?
Soon, we are about to start trialling the free, public service Talk About Local. We aim for wide roll out in Autumn 2009. If you are itching to get going, get in touch via email@example.com or the contact form below and we might be able to help anyway. We can often help with a simple email pointing you to easy to use things on the web so you can get going yourself.
Look, I really want a community site or sites and am prepared to pay for it…
We welcome paying customers to support the free public service Talk About Local drop us a line via firstname.lastname@example.org or the contact form below. You can pay us to run Talk About Local sessions in areas you specify. We shall have a commercial page shortly talking through the type of solutions we can offer paying partners.
How is Talk About Local different from other ‘hyperlocal’ projects?
There are some great hyperlocal things going on out there – Talk About Local was behind the creation of a UK hyperlocal alliance. The philosophy behind Talk About Local is ‘teach a man to fish…‘ We want to give people skills to publish for themselves on the web. We think that the best hyperlocal platforms are those ‘owned’ by people in their communities. So Talk About Local is more about people and public service than technology platforms and advertising. Our unique funding model and enlightened investors (4IP, Screen West Midlands and Advantage West Midlands) allow us to empower people without having to seek a commercial return from people direct, nor from advertising on websites. We think that the more content people produce about their communities online the more commerical platforms can thrive.
What if I already have a website for my community or local campaign?
Great, well done. Are there things you have wanted to do with the site but have never been able to figure out? For instance how to post up simple videos, how to run a petition or a poll or perhaps make a campaign you are running more effective? Then maybe we can help you and put you in touch with other people who run sites like yours . Drop us a line via email@example.com or the contact form below.
How can I help?
Talk About Local is about partnerships. We are interested in working with anyone who is trying to promote community activism on the ground. We are building relationships with a host of organisations at a national and local level. We were behind the moves to establish a UK hyperlocal alliance.
Are you competing with newspapers?
No, not at all. Good local sites are a boon to local papers, who can’t afford the density of journalists on the ground that a volunteer network supporting a good local website will have. In Kings Cross for instance, the Islington Gazette regularly borrows or follows up on issues covered by the local website and runs them in the paper. We are all happy with this relationship. Also, we shall not be competing for advertising revenue.
Where is the money coming from?
The project will be funded by 4IP, the web ventures arm of Channel4, Screen West Midlands and Advantage West Midlands.
Can I invest in Talk About Local?
Yes – we are building relationships with companies looking to invest in communities through their corporate social responsibility programmes, with Local Authorities and with Regional Development Agencies who are keen to invest in original internet content in their patch or to empower communities in a modern way. If you are working in this area then we want to hear from you and figure out how we can work together. Drop us a line via firstname.lastname@example.org or the contact form below. Our capacity is limited as we start the project up so bear with us but we shall get back to you.
Who is behind Talk About Local?
I am William Perrin, a community activist with a background in Kings Cross, a deprived area of London. I have used the internet there to support local campaigning and community cohesion. I believe very firmly that the internet alone doesn’t change things – it is the action of people that gets things done. The internet allows people to act more effectively with our elderly democratic structures and public services. So I quit my job and set up Talk About Local. You can find out more about my professional background on LinkedIn.