Ed Vielmetti posted about neighborhoods, networks, communities, online+offline and I had the following comment. My comment seems to fit in as a follow-up post to the Local InfoCloud post (linked below). The online and offline is very important, but so is the individual and the individual interests we have.
There is a huge need for tools that can connect in the neighborhoods. The neighborhood listserve is not the solution, even if some have been successful. The UK's Up My Street was an interesting take on this. There should be potential in something like Yahoo Local, but the people connecting to people is not there.
I have been doing a fair amount of thinking around this as part of the Local InfoCloud (more than just location, but location is very important) as in the Exposing the Local InfoCloud. Each of the components of the Local InfoCloud can be mixed with others and should be mixed.
This summer I have been to more neighborhood cookouts than any time in the past. But the commonality is our kids are around the same age and they interact at the local preschool just up the block. It is the similar/common interests that bring us together. It is the "location", "near in thought" (kids interests), and "affiliation" (school) components that are the aggregation/attraction points.
Part of the problem with every social networking site is they are broad-line friend based and not focussed on facets of our lives. The social network waters are muddied by the broadlines an make it difficult to identify common bonds with people whom we may not yet know, or know from other life contexts. The digital life tools need to start bubbling up the individuals and focuss less on the popularity engines based on people with dissimilar interests.