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    Is Citizen Media Skipping Small Town America?

    by Steven Clift
    March 19, 2008

    I am on a hunt.

    While the new EveryBlock.com site uses maps to display aggregated content for three major cities and Outside.in gets local with select geotagging blogs in a number of high population areas, I am looking for tools that display organic “user-generated” content via maps that get out of urban areas and into small town America.

    As part of E-Democracy.Org’s Rural Voices project in Minnesota we seek to discover bloggers, social networking groups, wikis, online community forums, etc. from rural/Greater Minnesota. This map of 200 blogs aggregated by MNSpeak, shows just three outside the Twin Cities metropolitan area. This doesn’t seem very democratizing. Our goal is to connect these rural citizen media producers and bring them to workshops across the state.

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    Has anyone out there seen anything that combines say recent post data in Google Blog Search or Technorati and displays it as a daily/weekly/monthly “heat map” of sorts?

    I’ve stumbled across a number of sites like Flickrvision and its cousin Twittervision which show real-time geo-tagged content. Panoramio shows photos from Google Earth. Placeopedia and WikiMapia are trying to get people to manually link place-based Wikipedia pages to maps. My friends with Placeblogger allow you to search by place, but I don’t want to type in village after village. The best site I’ve found that seems to get, is FindNearBy.Net which maps Craiglist and EBay sale items.

    All in all, touristic rural areas do pretty well with photos online, but finding blogs/blog posts, video, wiki pages, online forums without highly focused geographic term searches seems near impossible. Can anyone help me out? Show me the map of my dreams.

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    Steven Clift
    E-Democracy.Org

    P.S. We are using the Del.icio.us tag mnvoices to tag Web 2.0 drive rural/Greater Minnesota sites that we find and will be adding the best sites we find to our wiki.

    Tagged: citizen media everyblock maps rural rural voices
    • We are out here! I write about small business issues for small towns and rural areas, so I’m always watching for small town content.

      While I don’t have the magic wand you seek, do check into the Daily Yonder and the Center for Rural Affairs. Both are tracking rural and small town content, also. And don’t overlook existing geographic networks. Blog Oklahoma does an excellent job of identifying small town as well as big city blogs.

      Always glad to hear anyone bring up the rural issues. Thank you!

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