Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Neighborhoods, communities and the internet

As much as I am interested in, and participate in, various online communities, I often feel that they're a sort of vague, unreal part of my overall world. There are purportedly people out there, on their computers, who are interested in some of the same things I'm interested in, but they don't feel "real" sometimes. It's just words on a screen; for all I know, it could be a very advanced piece of software that someone has written to emulate a whole community and I am the only real member.

Yeah, of course I know that isn't true, but that sort of feeling has always led me to wonder if there aren't online communities that cross over into real life groups. One group we all fall into is the city where we live, so I searched online for a social network tie-in of some kind to my city, Shoreline, WA. There are Facebook "neighborhoods" that sort of fit the bill, but they only seem to serve as marker that yes, you live in a certain place, and there's no interaction based on that fact.

I did finally make an interesting discovery in a corner of the web: a blog called "Ronald Bog" (the name of our local mini-lake, I guess you'd call it). It's a blog about Shoreline, and I was happy to find that it covered the kinds of things I like to know about my town: what's going on, what's that new building on the corner going to be, what are the restaurants everyone likes or doesn't - that kind of thing.

Cutting out the lengthy middle of this story, I ended up becoming a co-author of the blog. Right now, it's a pretty low-traffic site. The blog's owner and I are trying to think of ways to promote it, and get more of our fellow Shoreliners (Shorelinians?) to come and participate.

I envision that people in the area will exchange ideas and thoughts about everything from local government to where the best sushi can be had. I'm thinking about ways to get more people here in Shoreline involved (and would love any suggestions!) and will be writing articles on the things I think are interesting about my town. And I'll probably still keep writing posts here about the dog- can cat-owning life and what I've managed to draw in my free time, and other stuff of interest to pretty much just me.

No comments: