Can a website help locals to make a difference in their community?
Coogee village rally
But State politics isn't the only area being transformed by the possibility for live and immediate connection with the community. Locals are engaging in new types of conversation, not over the back fence but on-line, with their neighbours, councillors and local community groups. Sites are springing up everywhere, covering everything from eco-projects to dog walking, politics to play.
Streetcorner's experience is that this transformation is growing at an increasing pace.
“Last Friday a South West Sydney resident posted a story challenging the NSW Liberals on their policy in relation Cumberland Plains Woodland. The Opposition Leader, Barry O’Farrell responded via Twitter to Streetcorner on Saturday and the Shadow Minister for Planning and Infrastructure, Brad Hazzard provided a direct response on Sunday,” said Streetcorner Founder Angela Clark.
Streetcorner.com.au covers local news, sports, and events and news is also reported by the community. Locals can log on and “be the reporter” on anything from development proposals and bike paths, to art exhibitions and restaurant reviews.
‘We all want to feel that we are being listened to. Direct dialogue empowers people. Locals give a lot of credit to politicians and organisations who engage with them directly. It challenges the notion of unaccountable representatives and shows that they really do care. Streetcorner has seen a growing number of politicians from all parties, Mayors, Councillors and MP’s using Streetcorner to speak directly to the community,” Angela Clark said.
“Streetcorner gets you in touch with Council quickly since many Councillors’ read the site. The fact that council replies shows that they are working for the community and not just sitting around wasting tax payers money having coffee,” said Casula resident Dara Bonic.
Dara Bonic, has been campaigning, along with her neighbours to have noise barriers installed along a strip of rail track that generates dangerous levels of noise in their homes.
“Streetcorner gets you in touch with other members of the community which you would otherwise never have met. In my case such as the people from Wattle grove and Hoxton Park and it nurtures a sense of community. That we are all in it together for betterment of a district, as in my case Liverpool,” said Dara Bonic.
Rona Wade from the campaign to Keep Coogee a Village said "I've found StreetCorner to be an immediate, relevant and untrammeled means of keeping the community informed."
Arts, sports, food and culture, the ‘stuff that makes communities tick’, are just as important as political issues and so Streetcorner has a broad mandate. Locals can publish articles on any topic, from the wheelchair basketball league, a Buddhist Goddess Temple in Bonnyrigg, great coffee in Fairfield and musical theatre in Charing Cross. Charities are also welcome to promote their events or call for volunteers.
Streetcorner.com.au has just added three new regions to its hyper-local news network; North West Sydney, South West Sydney and Sydney City. There are now five Streetcorner’s, with the new sites joining Streetcorner’s sites in Western Sydney and Eastern Suburbs.
“We have a lot of community engagement from the Liverpool area and felt we needed to cover this community in a more localised way,” said Streetcorner General Manager Mal Jago.
“It was the same with our Eastern Suburbs Streetcorner. We kept getting stories from nearby areas, like Surry Hills, and knew we had to take the plunge and launch an Inner Sydney site,” said Malcolm Jago.
A radio advertising campaign begins in late June, letting Sydneysiders know about Streetcorner’s expanded community news platform and how they can be part of the news making process.
“We look forward to collaborating with locals in Inner, South West and North West Sydney, and empowering residents to make a difference in their community,” said Angela Clark.
Streetcorner.com.au has been selected by X|Media|Lab as one of sixteen innovative Australian and New Zealand digital projects that will receive mentoring from international digital luminaries such as Ralph Simon (Founder of the mobile entertainment industry), Amin Zoufonoun ( Director of Corporate Development at Google), Robert Tercek ( Former President, Digital Media at the Oprah Winfrey Network) and Dana Al Salem, (Founder of Fanshake and Co-Founder Yahoo! Europe). The invite-only Global Media Ideas XMedia Lab takes place on the 19-20 of June, as part of Vivid Sydney.
Do you think sites like Streetcorner can help locals make a difference in your community?
Disclosure; this article was written by Streetcorner, primarily about Streetcorner so we can hardly be called objective. We welcome all comments, criticism or feedback on our thoughts here.