It started with this Tweet
William Perrin @willperrin
RT @getgood: RT @arogozinska: Following #hyperlocal - why there are so many tweets about making money off it instead of #community spirit...
in which 'hyperlocal' means - well, at least includes - sites such as this. For more, see this posting about a Networked Neighbourhoods 'Unconference' to in 2010, where William Perrin was a leading participant.
To which I replied
Tim Lund @TimLundSE26
@willperrin @getgood @arogozinska - Re #hyperlocal - making money vs. #community spirit? Human nature, maybe?
about which on reflection, I'm not entirely happy - but that's the problem with Twitter - it pushes people into communicating in sound bites. So here, in more than 140 characters ...
First, in the initial Tweet from William Perrin, there's an implied opposition between 'community spirit' and making money. This bothers me, because we all want to make a living, and this sort of opposition sets up anyone who's in business as less worthy than people who can be simply labelled as 'community'. See the point made here:
Austin77 wrote:I find it so strange why some people want to make things difficult for local businesses, they truly are the life blood of the local community.
Second, in my response, blaming 'human nature' is a bit lazy. Human nature is important, but it's not as if there's nothing which can be done with it. To take a Hobbesian view, it's the same human nature which results in a nasty, brutal and short life in the absence of a strong central authority and with it allows the many blessings of civilisation. From a classical liberal perspective, it's the same human nature which with suitable commercial law, suitably enforced, results in the many blessings of commerce. To suggest it's just human nature is unhelpful, even if not actually wrong.
A more constructive response to the original tweet would have been to suggest trying to understand the motivations of successful 'hyperlocal' sites - which I believe this to be. But others may have different views as to whether STF is successful, and so something from which to learn. In my posting from 2010 I picked out this from the 'Unconference' publicity
What are the policy and practice implications of stimulating local online activity? What are the winning arguments for policy makers to support active citizens and community development workers in getting local sites set up and buzzing? And what would practitioners have to do to make stuff happen?
There is clearly a 'policy maker' agenda here re what 'the community' should be doing. For more on William Perrin's policy maker provenance:
William Perrin (Trustee)
William Perrin is the founder of talk about local a unique public service project (funded by Channel4 and Screen West Midlands) to give people in deprived or isolated communities an online voice they own and run. He has a long track record of community action in London’s deprived Kings Cross neighbourhood. When in the UK civil service, William was Tony Blair’s technology policy advisor in Downing Street, co-authored the ‘Transformational Government’ strategy, commissioned the 2007 Power of Information Review with Fran, was Secretary to the Power of Information Taskforce, ran ‘Show us a Better Way’ one of the first open data competitions and was Chair of the OECD expert group on e-government.