As 2.0 has become an integral part of the web, the Classifieds section of the newspaper has changed dramatically. Far from the old 4-line ad full of strange shorthand and acronyms, we can now digitally search thousands of ads using standard English. With increasing competition from social sites of all sorts, newspapers have adapted and adopted everything from customer ratings to blogs and comments.
Locally, The Boston Globe, The Boston Herald and the Boston Phoenix have all put their classifieds online. But ask your average patron where to go to find apartments to rent or stuff to buy, and they'll mention Craigslist. This nonprofit service developed by a guy named Craig may be single-handedly responsible for getting newspapers and circular publishers to change the way they do business. With a simple format and no need to register, craigslist offers a place for anyone to promote anything they want to buy, sell, do or find. Free event announcements, calls for artists, personals ads and anything else you'd normally find in the Classifieds -- and things un-dreamed of in the days of print-only -- are here. It's locally-oriented services and shopping, by users and for users.
There are other sites that capture part of the same market -- FreeCycle focuses on barter and giveaways rather than sales -- but craigslist is powerful because it is so diverse in what it offers.
Poke around craigslist for a while. Look for things that interest you, activities nearby, ads for apartments and cars and anything else that catches your eye. Keep track of what types of things you find and the diversity of it all. Look for the same sorts of things on Boston.com or the Herald. Write up a short blog post about what you find and compare the different sites.
Edited To Add: For an excellent, concise comparison, check out your running mate's post at Expanding Horizons. Nicely done!
Go the Extra Mile:
Post an ad to craigslist for an event you're having, an exhibition you're hosting, or classes you offer. Once you've got the ad up, post a link to it in your blog.
Are you feeling social yet? Overwhelmed? No worries, because next week we'll be looking at some tools to keep the rising tide of overload a bit more managed. We'll start with Thing 7: Feed Me!, a look at RSS and online subscriptions of all sorts.