Recently I came across a website that allows me to chat to my neighbours and to find out about local news.
Streetbook (where did they get that from?) is a social network that covers the area I live in and other parts of Wandsworth borough. You can join a local group based on your area or affiliated to a local neighbourhood watch or park users group.
It’s early days, but so far Streetbook seems to be well received by local people. Today, the local chat section in Tooting – my group – featured discussions about where to find a good dentist and local jazz dance classes.
I am also sensing that Streetbook is bringing communities together and generating local action. Since I first logged in, I have seen a book group formed and discussions about creating a theatre group.
The Social Network showed how Facebook started locally, on Harvard’s campus, and soon spread to other US universities and beyond. The social networking startup behind Streetbook is also starting local and has chosen Wandsworth borough as its test bed. Founded at the start of 2010, it is now gearing up for a major expansion.
One thing that might put off some potential users is that you have to share details about your postcode and credit card details in order to join the chat. But Streetbook insists that these details are used only for address verification and are never stored in any systems, or in log data.
Whatever your views on the privacy aspects of Streetbook, it seems to have stolen a march on other social networks when it comes to helping to nurture a sense of community in Wandsworth at least. It will be interesting to see if the company succeeds elsewhere.