My wife is a technophobe. Maybe that’s a bit too strong a word. She’s not _scared_ of technoloogy. She just doesn’t use it all that much. Until recently, she did her banking online and not much else. Now though, she’s branching out, starting to use the web to research topics of interest. And discovering blogs.
(Yes, I know the irony.)
The point is that her interests are mainly local – she’s a real estate and interior design nut, and is constantly researching the market. The *local* market.
Over at “Naked Conversations”:http://redcouch.typepad.com/weblog/2005/11/predictions_for.html, Shel Israel has just posted his predicitions for 2006. His third prediction reads
After a few major metropolitan newspapers die, dailies will begin to understand that blogs are part of their solution, and will start incorporating neighborhood bloggers into their system. These microchannels of news will be well-supported by local advertisers who will be thrilled to support these effrots over Google Local or static Yellow Pages. Why? Because these newspaper bloggers will be comprised of local people talking to their neighbors. What better way to reach such a community?
I couldn’t agree more. My wife is typical (well, hardly – but in this rare occasion she is). The point is that she doesn’t care what format the information is is: blog site, web site, print, or radio. What she cares about is getting _relevant_, _topical content when she wants to find it_.
It strikes me that one might be wise to investigate ways to aggregate local content. Off the top of my head I can see a couple of ways to leverage existing technology to create effective, profitable portals. While it may be beneficial to partner with a local community newspaper in order to use their sales team and local marketing reach, I’m not convinced it’s a requirement for success. Their entrenched culture may make the concept of citizen journalists reporting on screen difficult to grasp.