Creating an Immersive Experience
Privacy and Public Parts

All About Local

A Dreamier WorldTHE "MOST INTERESTING" SHOT of Cashel, Ireland, today is a wheat field (at left). That tells a local story.

When I see farmers' fields in County Tipperary, I often think about where the crops are headed. A field of oats suggests a special story. They have a lower summer heat requirement and greater tolerance of rain than other cereals, such as wheat, rye or barley, so are particularly important in areas with cool, wet summers, such as Ireland. I watch farmers plant oats in both the autumn and in the spring. And I enjoy the by-product at places like Inch House where oats grown out front of the house make black pudding in the kitchen. This is a common local story and it should be shared.

In my Media Writing module at LIT-Clonmel, I encourage students to write reviews of local venues, local accommodation and local restaurants on Trip Advisor. Doing that well can earn academic credit in the semester I teach first year students writing for the Web. Compelling written content can evolve into syndicated material run by newspapers or multimedia content served to pedestrians via Bluetooth downloads.

Downtown in Cashel, I have listened to an audio tour of the town that dropped onto my phone from the old Town Hall. I used to record my own impressions of Cashel and Kilkenny for backpackers to download from iTunes. Those audio clips worked because they attracted people to the places I talked about in the podcasts. They worked because I was a local guy but with an American accent.

We need to create more of those audio files today because the future lies in making local work. It's a thought emerging from this weekend's gathering at Dublin Castle of the global Irish forum, a grouping of Irish business leaders. It first gathered in Farmleigh two years ago to help examine how those with a strong interest in the Republic could work together and contribute to the State's economic recovery. I think we need to encourage high-quality user-generated content (UGC). It's all over YouTube and with channels like FourSquare, UGC is growing at a faster rate than yellow pages directories. LeeAnn Prescottexplained the power of OGC several years ago. In the past four years phones got apps like Foursquare, Google Latitude, Wikitude, and LAYAR, helping to make compelling adventures out of casual walkabouts.

Image by Ryan Brenizer.

LeeAnn Prescott -- "Social Local Search Sites Up 44% in Past Year", 4 October 2006.

Previously: "The Future Is" on Irish Eyes, 6 October 2006.

Phil Campbell interviews Hockley traders on Audioboo.