Richard Pope has been working on a new social website for MySociety, called GroupsNearYou.com. Here’s how he explains it on his blog:
For all the talk of social networking people forget that for a whole host of internet users have been doing this kind of thing for years using really the really the < web 1.0 technology of email groups and phpBB forums (sw4people, Urban75 and Hern Hill Forum blog are just a few local to me).
They can make a real difference to the local community aspects of people’s lives - discussing crime, finding out about local restaurants, ganging up on their local council or whatever. Many of the people who run these groups (especially the email based ones) are often not that internet savvy, but have found simple tools that let them connect with people where they live that have a shared interest.
The problem is, unless someone tells you directly about one, they are all but invisible.
To this ends, I’ve been building a site for mySociety called (sticking to the “does what it says on the tin” naming convention) GroupsNearYou.com that is aiming to map the locations and details of these groups and, importantly, help people find ones relevant them.
At the moment the site is pretty sparsely populated, but I am sure that will change in the very near future. Making decent websites available to community groups is a topic I am greatly interested in, but equally important is making them accessible and easy to find. Great work, Richard!