BuzzWord: hyperlocal

Posted by on February 18, 2010

hyperlocal / wordle.netHyperlocal is this week’s BuzzWord from our online English dictionary here at Macmillan. The adjective is used to describe a very specific, local area.

Apparently, many large companies are now focussing their attention on manipulating and delivering hyperlocal information. (The use of ‘manipulating’ here is probably a little dark, no?) Anyway, with the appearance of local news and business results on the front page of Google, the world’s most popular search engine, it certainly seems that hyperlocal information delivery is the next big media thing. It does seem the next logical step for a company who can bring us the best of the international web, to bring us the best of our town, village or postal district. Now, if I can just get some hyperlocal information on the wherabouts of my car keys …

Hyperlocal has been used primarily in the context of local news reporting. The editor-in-chief of the Guardian (for those not in the UK, a large national daily newspaper) recently bemoaned the ‘collapse of the structure of political reporting‘. While local business gets a spot on Google results pages, other pertinent, local information does not. In response, the newspaper will launch a small-scale experimental approach to local news gathering in the form of Guardian Local.

The rise of the smart phone (a really smart phone would never lose itself …) will probably also help with the monetization of hyperlocal information. I recently acquired an iPhone news app which asked me to choose from a bewildering array of hundreds of news sources. Dazed and confused by the selection of unfamiliar news sources and place names, I selected a few of the big names from the top of the list and then, with relief, jumped on a few news sources from my local town. The point here is that I wouldn’t normally buy a local newspaper or surf a local news site in addition to my regular national dailies.

Now I know all the local banks that have been robbed, the location of a new traffic camera at the bottom of the steepest downhill stretch of roadway in the area and the success stories of some local poets. Bring on the hyperlocal local news!

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