Building Local Social Communities Online

Technology has brought people from different parts of the world closer together through the use of social networks, email and even phoning.  But technology has also made people who are physically close to each other more distant.  Case in point, two co-workers sitting in a room waiting for a meeting to start.  Rather then starting up a conversation with each other they pull out their smart phones and start communicating virtually.

My beef is should not technologies bring me closer with people that I also have a chance to interact with.  People who live around me, who also know about the area that I live in and could contribute to my practical life in so many more ways.  Such as where is the best deal for milk, or which gas station has cheaper gas, or which kids around the neighbourhood are good baby-sitters.

Social Communities have not yet, at least to my knowledge, taken proximity to each other as a way to share information.  I understand there are security issues but there are ways around this.  Online applications could distinguish geographical locations where all that would be required is to say I live in and around this neighbourhood.  Users could still stay anonymous or use aliases till trust is built.  Also I see the need for verification.  Exactly how that would work I am not sure, but I think there is a real good opportunity for some clever engineers and businessmen to figure that out.

There is also a huge potential for collaboration with local businesses. Local business could understand their target community much better and cater to their needs.  This online service could prove to be very lucrative for all parties involved and in the end the user is also a winner.  I have ideas about how one might start something like this up, but I would love to hear thoughts from others.

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