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Community information hubs

Finding relevant information about a local community is challenging in a sea of global information. I subscribe to several local blogs, news sites, and related information. In networks, local information teeters on the brink of generating global conversation. All it takes is one unique conversation, violation of rights, a novel happening and suddenly global attention floods local scenes (high attention status is fleeting, however, and disappears as soon as the next novelty attracts the attention of online participants).

In spite of following local information sources, I do find that I miss much of the mundane local conversation (gossip?). Given the global decline of newspapers, what can we expect from community hubs? MediaShift suggests: “There’s no shortage of quality information. The issue is recognizing the type of information that people need expanded access to and finding a trustworthy mechanism for delivering it.” A list of suggestions for information hubs then follows. All of which could be achieved through distributed means…and none of which require a central site. It’s here that I’m finding some personal dissatisfaction with information interaction. The notion of object-centered sociability suggests that it is objects that lead to socialization. I would like to turn it around and offer the view that online and community conversations are socially-centered information artifacts. They do not exist prior to the conversation and interaction. Information, in a socially centered view, is a by product of learning that emerges through socialization, rather than an artifact that centers socialization.