In today’s digital world, everything is tailored to the individual. Hyperlocal media ensures that people only receive the news that directly affects them. Hypertailored online businesses like Amazon or Netflix support niche desires, so that even if you are the only one in your neighborhood with certain tastes, you can still find everything you want without ever leaving the comfort of your home. The coexistence of hyperlocal blogging and the Long Tail in this regard seems logical, yet also paradoxical.

One of the advantages of the internet is that people are no longer at the mercy of what’s popular in a certain area; if someone has a passion for obscure Italian films, they can find movies on Amazon.com or Netflix instead of just accepting their local movie store’s selection. They can connect with other obscure Italian film lovers across the globe through online resources.


However, online interaction takes people away from their involvement in their immediate physical community. Neighborhoods pride themselves on being unique places to live. Part of what makes a neighborhood one-of-a-kind are the restaurants, shops and establishments in the area. If everyone starts renting movies from Netflix instead of the funky movie store down the street, they detract from what makes their neighborhood special. As more mom and pop shops close, individual neighborhoods becomes less and less interesting, their residents are less and less likely to care about what goes on there, and are less and less likely to read hyperlocal blogs. Granted, towns and neighborhoods with no local businesses exist, but they generally serve as bedroom communities for their residents, who have no particular investment in what happens there. The quirks are what make a neighborhood worth caring about.


Another important aspect of a neighborhood is the interpersonal relationships between the residents. If everyone orders exactly what they want through a service online, there is no interaction or opportunities for discussion. Part of what brings people together is shared experiences, regardless of whether those experiences are good or bad. Physical location is one shared experience, but it is generally not enough to form a cohesive bond. Even if the selection at the funky movie store down the street isn’t ideal, everyone shares that selection with everyone else. Sometimes you run into a friend or neighbor while picking out a movie. You chat. Then you strike up a conversation with the kid behind the counter. Maybe he recommends a movie for you to rent next time: it doesn’t require a complex algorithm to do so, just a little knowledge of what people like and don’t like. Even if the movie he recommends is bad, it’s still another opportunity for conversation.


How long can hyperlocal and hypertailored exist? Hypertailored makes us hyper-hyperlocal: our bubble becomes our home instead of our neighborhood, since the home is the lowest common denominator for obtaining what we need. The less people connect with their neighbors and community, the less likely they are to read hyperlocal blogs. Conversely, the more they connect with their neighbors, the less likely they are to rely solely on niche product services that remove the human element.


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