Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Thing 14: Right In Your Own Backyard...

One of the most enjoyable things to do at this time of year is find a local haunted house, spooky cornfield or pumpkin patch to hang out in. American Towns "offers communities a single online location for everything--and everyone-- needed to navigate daily life in their town." Local resources of all sorts can be found here, including events and attractions. Updates can be accessed via RSS feed or weekly email digest.

Oddly, American Towns is one of the only non-newspaper sites I've found doing what they do. As you've seen, the Globe, Herald and Phoenix all offer classifieds and event listings. In addition, many of the former Massachusetts small town papers have merged and gone online as WickedLocal, an umbrella site for town-oriented blogs and news sites.

Another way to discover local goings-on is through placeblogging. In the words of Watertown placeblogger Lisa Williams (of the currently non-working h20town.info): "A placeblog is an act of sustained attention to a particular place over time." These blogs focus on physical locations rather than a blogger's life or interests, and can have a treasure trove of local information.

Placeblogger is a search site/directory for placeblogs around the country, while Boston Online colocates links to Boston-area blogs. Universal Hub works slightly differently - the authors write posts about mentions of Boston in other blogs, rather than just offering a list of links.

Discovery Activity
Search American Towns or Wicked Local to find spooky things in your town. One you've found a listing, post a link in your blog.

If you want to Go the Extra Mile, post an event to one or both of those sites for your institution or an organization you belong to.

With our next Thing, we'll shift from the current holiday to our first glimmerings of the next few. If you're in a gift-giving mood this fall and winter, perhaps you'll find a few treasures in Thing 15: Itsy Bitsy Etsy.

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