Letter From The Editor

Early naysayers pessimistically predicted the Web would wash over individuality and creativity to establish a new world order of globalized boredom, but they couldn’t have been more wrong.

Far from ushering in a domineering, tedious and bland monoculture, the Internet turned out to be the saving grace for the curious and their niche interest groups. The Internet is officially shaping who we are.

Your chance of garnering enough people in your neighborhood who love to talk about hilarious pictures of birds with superimposed human arms is probably slim to none. But believe it or not, you’ll find an adequate supply of people somewhere in the ethers of the Internet more than willing to form a group dedicated to the discussion – it’s called Reddit. The Internet gives a home to the weirdly specific conversations and hobbies that would have otherwise fallen by the wayside in retro times past.

The Internet turned out not to be the digital manifestation of globalization; but rather hyperlocalism in its modern form.

The term “hyperlocal” was first used in 1991, but the concept has transformed dramatically in the last 20 years. A brief history lesson: Hyperlocal 1.0 was a term of journalistic art that referred to reporting in a clearly defined piece of geography. Today, the term encompasses a great deal more: the proliferation of web communities, decentralized tech, and intuitive locale-based predictive software.

Welcome to The New Hyperlocal, where niche verticals, the tech space, and Big Data have extended into areas beyond geography: search, marketing, perception, manufacturing and commodities, on-demand, 3D printing and mass local online courses, to name a few.

The New Hyperlocal is a lot more than place — it’s about discovering and engaging with online communities tied together by a common penchant for the most eccentric, intricate, and customized of content. It’s an ultra-personalized, mobile, and seamless experience that is fast becoming the default.

We’re venturing deeper and more confidently into the Internet’s landscape. Group SJR’s original research revealed a lot about the evolution of hyperlocal— especially when it comes to the Internet. Across the board, respondents are more comfortable than not having their personal data influence their experience with the Internet. Fifty-seven percent of respondents are comfortable with their GPS location factoring into their web browsing experience. Moreover, 66% of Millennials reveal that the majority of their search results are related to location and locale-based inquiries.

Above all, our findings prove that we’re all involved with the ever-shrinking ever-growing paradox that is the hyper-localization of the Internet. That’s why we’re proud to investigate this issue’s theme, The New Hyperlocal.

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Letter From The Editor