The Guardian’s N0tice board opens to all, but can it carve a niche in the hyperlocal landscape?

The Guardian’s N0tice board opens to all, but can it carve a niche in the hyperlocal landscape? ...

Back in October, The Guardian announced the trial of N0tice, the community notice board system that allows users to share news, post events and add images. The service is now open to everyone for sharing their local updates and hopes to strengthen ties within communities.

The service had been in beta, with participants required to ask for an invitation. Now anyone can join N0tice to post their material or set up their own noticeboards for specific areas.

In essence it’s a simple community noticeboard service with a focus on hyperlocal publishing and personalisation. Noticeboard owners can run their boards on a unique URL and tailor their space with an analytics package that measures effectiveness and share in revenues from the site.

Matt McAlister, N0tice founder and Guardian Media Group’s Director of Digital Strategy, says, “By creating a space devoted to, and designed for, their communities we believe that our users can reach their neighbours and visitors more effectively than through global-scale networks. Instead of just being another flag in a globe, through, communities are able to show themselves as rich and energised, where every activity is easy to find and easy to promote.”

The need for critical mass

There are established community sites who have been encouraged to use N0tice to post and spread their material. Jonathan Turton runs the West Hampstead Life blog, linked to a Twitter account it’s dedicated to supporting the local community. Jonathan was surprised to receive an invite to N0tice, even after being a member there for some time.

“I signed up to N0tice a while ago,” says Turton. “But it just became another place to have to post material. I think if people are running a community site in their spare time, like I do, then they will find it is extra work that takes up extra time. It might be a useful tool for people who are just starting out though.”

N0tice needs to gain critical mass to get going properly. At the moment posts are sparse in many locations and it might be a matter of what people choose to do within the boundaries of the site. Turton comments, “I had thought that it might be a good way to post recommendations for plumbers, cleaners or other services I often get asked about. But it needs more people on there to make sure that this system would not get gamed. I can see that the Guardian brand is a pull for people who want to add their site to N0tice, but I wonder who goes there to read it. I’d like to know how they are going to generate that balance.”

So for established community names, it might not be the right way to have to spread information further. But for people considering their first foray into local community management online, it could be a great first step.

The project began as a Guardian hack day project in 2009 and was incubated by Guardian Media Group, under Matt McAlister’s leadership.


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