Monday, April 12, 2010

Things on a Stick for 2010

That wildly popular library learning 2.0 program has made a comeback in an unusual way.  Instead of an all new program that you can work through for fun rewards and certain glory, the Things are now a "news archive" called Things on a Stick News Archive: the 2010 version of Things on a Stick.


The news is sent out to you via email as they have some new site or 2.0ish skill they'd like to highlight.  The blog itself just archives those new pieces.  Still it gives you a handy way to keep your skills up.

I'm going to go ahead and leap into the new Things as if I were doing the Things for fun and profit, because I surely don't want my skills to get all rusty like the rest of me.

The current (April 5th) subject is "Hyperlocal Sites".   According to the Stick: "what many of these sites are doing is providing that local (town, city, neighborhood, or even block) information source that many small town daily or weekly newspapers have always provided".   This is of interest to me professionally because I'd like another venue to promote some of the excellent programming for adults in my work community.  Any new way to get the word out would be great.

The first site is EveryBlock: a News Feed for your Block which is owned by MSNBC.  As of this writing, there are only fifteen large cities covered.  Let's pretend I lived in San Jose, California.

I can enter my address and get news about my immediate neighborhood. 

The featured neighborhood is Willow Glen.  Eeek! 

"Missing elderly woman's car discovered in wooded roadside", "Worst fears realized at the bottom of ravine" and "San Jose school briefly locked down after report of partly naked man".  Who knows how they pick the featured neighborhood?

There is a clickable map that shows which neighborhoods have been in the news.

I can see what police calls, restaurant inspections, liquor license status changes and locations in the news have been posted for the last 30 days.
Now that is dynamic!  I guess it isn't a vehicle for program promotion though, it's more like a community rap sheet.   Most fascinating.  Wait, there is a spot for Announcements where you are able to post your own news.  There we go.

The other local news congregator featured is Patch.

There are only a few states in this one.  Once again I'll pretend I live in sunny California rather than arctic Minnesota.  San Jose isn't available here so let's live in Manhattan Beach.

Patch is very community oriented, but in a more newsy homey way.  The clickable map in Patch shows where the local PTA meeting is, for instance. 

Lots of local sports news, obituaries, wedding announcements, just the kind of thing you would want to have at hand to truly know your community better.  Also this would be an excellent place to promote those library programs, letting me bypass a certain local newspaper which used to be really good about covering our programming, but alas it now will never run anything, whap whap at the SWR.  Hehe.  So much for maturity.

Check these out, and hope they both come to a neighborhood near you very soon!

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