I love Matt McGee’s blog.  He’s got a pulse on local blogging and search as well as anyone in the industry.  I just stumbled upon this post he wrote about a month ago (don’t know how I missed it the first time) about the intersection of local and social.  In it, he recommends a few social sites for connecting with other local people.But there’s one thing really missing from his list.  The LOCAL!  Yes, many of these sites have features to help you find things near you through geotagging and whatever, but what none of them do is focus on the local communities themselves.  You can hack your way through Flickr to find pictures of people near you and add them to your contacts, but none of these sites really connect people on a local level.He does mention outside.in and Placeblogger which are two great local sites.  But as he points out, these sites are most useful for finding other local bloggers–connecting is left up to you.  And as much as we all like to think that blogging has gone mainstream, it really hasn’t.  Think of how many people you know who blog.  Now think of how many people you know who don’t.  See?The point in all this is that while the web is becoming more and more social, it does a horrible job of putting me in touch with people around me to help me find what is most important for ME.  You may know by now that I’ve got a special affinity for neighborhoods.  The thing about neighborhoods is that they are tribal.  People feel an attachment for the places they live.  They are emotional.  And none of these sites adequately captures the community of people that exists at the local level.  It’s more like connecting random dots in a very big connect-the-dots page.  All of the sites that Matt holds up as examples are all about the content (whether it be pictures or blogs or links or whatever) and not about the people–as much as they’d like to have you believe otherwise.Sebastian Provencher spoke on a panel at ILM ’08 last week discussing exactly this.  I like where his company, Praized, is going because they are working on decentralizing the information.  I think it’s a step in the right direction.  I believe that the next phase of local will be content agnostic.  People will organize around the community and create and share the content that is most important for them regardless of where it’s from or what it is.Remember, local is about people, not places.

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