Thursday, September 18, 2008

What going on?

Not a reference to Mark Steel's excellent new book that I'm reading at the moment but just a quick look at how people use the net to find out what's happening in their local area.

The fact is that it can be quite difficult to find out if there's anything cool going on in your area, even if you've lived there for some time. Frankly local papers and other respectable sources rarely do anything except scratch the surface of what you'd actually want to attend. There is little mustard cutting coming from these sources unless you're into the most expensive and mainstream outtings available.

Round Cambridge way you have the site We're all neighbours which has served as something of a local hub - although I've always found the events listing far too cluttered to be useful. It does have a lively message board where people discuss all sorts of nonsense and an interesting, if slightly exclusive, community has developed around it.

Another local project of use is Just Living an ethical guide to Cambridge which, for those into that sort of thing, is a really useful resource. However, my impression is that most towns don't have anything like these free services and so it can create the impression that there's nothing going on that progressives might get excited about - and that's rarely the case.

I notice that London has just got a new free listings site which looks to have a lot more potential than many of its more mainstream rivals. Having played about on it it feels really easy to use and there's already plenty of interesting events up there that seem to cover right across London.

If you live in London you might want to check out both to find out about what's going on in your area but also, just as importantly, to let people know about events you might be hosting or promoting - I suspect this kind of listings site can be an effective way of helping make events into a success.

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