Keith Hampton has announced the launch of “i-neighbors”:http://www.i-neighbors.org/, a set of free web services for neighborhoods in Canada and the US inspired by the “research”:http://web.mit.edu/knh/www/pub.html into the connection between virtual and f2f communities done by himself and Barry Wellman. With their software you can
# Meet and communicate with your neighbors.
# Find neighbors with similar interests.
# Share information on local companies and services.
# Organize and advertise local events.
# Vocalize local concerns and ideas.
Alas the site’s services cannot be used by people outside the US and Canada because of legal concerns – particularly about our EU privacy laws, apparently, possibly because the service remains part of an MIT research programme and “data will be gathered for that research”:http://www.i-neighbors.org/privacy.php – but hopefully the BBC will do something similar for the UK at least. Meanwhile, “Upmystreet”:http://www.upmystreet.com/ here in the UK offers some of the necessary services.
I encourage any North Americans reading this to use this software to try to bring together the people in your community and I look forward to reading the research that will come out of this project.