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John Beaty

part of the problem is that it's not intuitive what "near" means. In the case of the pothole, 5 blocks may indeed be too far, unless it's on my route home. And your daughter scraping her knee is essentially irrelevant, unless I'm collecting stories about hurt children to help the parks dept. fix a problem. So, I need to be able to ask "What affects me" and not restrict TOO much the range of the question. But I love the idea, and signed up today for outside.in.

Best wishes,

John

Zelnox

Interesting. I think most of what gets twittered fall in the pothole paradox until there are like minded people that follow each other. The relevancy may not be geographical.

There was a twitterquake last week in the wake of a real earthquake in California. I live pretty far from California, but I cared, b/c I follow these folks and read their blogs. It was also a bit amusing how some people mentioned it was their first earthquake experience. Had I read about the earthquake via a mainstream news outlet the next morning, I think it would be complete pothole paradoxy to me.

Miquel

@John:

I think what you mean was told by Steven at his recent conference in Barcelona.

The relevance of the information is not only perceived by geographical distance, but also by "emotional distance".

Both concepts mixed gives a more accurate view of what is important.

Michael Wood-Lewis

Excellent post Steven. We've been using the same example of potholes here in Burlington, VT for some time now to explain why so many people have subscribed to our service and use it to post to their neighbors (more than 25% of Burlington uses Front Porch Forum).

Which raises a question about your thoughts... who supplies all this geo-specific data? Currently, it seems to be a narrow slice off the top... tech savvy, young, online extroverts, etc. Not too many everyday folks. It's a version of the 1% Principle.

We're thrilled with our early results in this arena too... in one sample FPF neighborhood forum, a full 50% of the participants posted in the past six months.

Congratulations on Outside.in's progress!

Gary Cook

Interesting post. I was thinking about folksonomy clouds and how an individual builds up a cloud of their links, interests etc. If people built up custom clouds relevant to their usual locations, adding their interests, maybe importing clouds from other people, you news could be filtered according to those parameters. Obviously this would never actually work, I am, in fact, wasting three minutes typing this, I just had to type it to see how ridiculous the idea was.

Robert

Interesting stuff. I spend my time working at a wireless sensor networking startup in the bay area. I get a distinct feeling that the worlds of sensor networks and hyperlocal information will collide in the next few years. With today's technology I could deploy a sensor network in an hour to sense just about anything - but it would be pretty expensive 'industrial grade' gear. Tomorrow I may be able to walk down to Home Depot and buy a network that gives me remote awareness of what's happening on my street, in my garage, or in my neighborhood. It can get sorta creepy if misused, but sites like outside.in would hopefully let the technology serve the good of the local community.

Hector

Outside.in featured Digg/Stumble for some extra exposure!

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