The rise of hyper-local social networking

| May 19, 2014

Every social network channel has its specific use. Darren Moffatt says that emerging online technology will connect neighbours, improve community relations and revitalise urban living.

“Facebook is dead”.

How many times have you heard that over the last few years? The media love a good social media story and any variation on this theme is rolled-gold link bait virtually guaranteed to draw eyeballs.

Whilst Facebook is far from dead, there is nevertheless a hot social media story that you will soon be hearing lots about: the rise of hyper-local social networking.

What exactly is ‘hyper-local’ social networking, and why is it important to you?

Put simply, hyper-local is about connecting you with people, places and things in the neighbourhood where you live or work. Check out this video.

It’s about using social networks and apps to meet neighbours, keep informed with suburb news, and get more connected with your local community. It’s powerful, for both local residents and small business.

Think of it this way: Facebook’s for family, Linked In is for you career and Twitter is a fun free-for-all. But hyper-local social networking sites are usually focussed on bringing members of the local neighbourhood together online where no previous relationship existed.

Over the last few years plenty of hyper-local sites have emerged overseas. As users turn away from Facebook in search of a more contextual experience, sites such as Urban Compass and Property Network appear to be thriving, or at the very least attracting huge amounts of venture capital.

So is Australia next? It certainly looks that way. Rumour has it that the world’s largest and most successful hyper-local site, America’s is coming to Australia soon. This site is widely admired and is growing fast with over 31,000 active neighbourhoods in the U.S.

Of course the big question is how well such an American phenomena adapts to the Australian market. Indeed there already been some good attempts at hyper-local community news with Street Corner and several variants with a real estate focus. However the American experience with and indicates that this community news model is difficult to crack.

In line with the U.S market, the second generation of Australian hyper-local sites are more focused on ‘social networking’ rather than reporting or aggregating local community news. There’s a very good reason for this: ’connecting with neighbours’ is really hard to do via existing social media, so it’s a massive opportunity for the first platform to get it right.

Existing and emerging contenders in Australia include Sharehood in Northcote,  StreetTalk in Bondi, Local Smiles and of course (national coverage).

It will be interesting to watch these and other solutions develop as the trend grows, but they all share much the same goal: to improve community relations and revitalise urban living.

So what advantages do hyper-local social networks present over traditional social media, such as Facebook? It depends on the platform, but here are some common benefits:

For Residents:

  1. Easily meet new people in your suburb
  2. Get recommendations from other locals for tradesmen, babysitters etc
  3. Share news, tips and info on schools and day care
  4. Easily discuss any ‘hot-button’ development or council planning issues with other residents
  5. Keep streets safe by sharing crime info

For Local Government:

  1. Reduce social isolation of older and less mobile people
  2. Improve social cohesion
  3. More efficient communication to ratepayers
  4. Better community engagement with council programs

For Small Business:

  1. Connect more easily with potential customers who live in your area
  2. Enjoy local conversations with real people
  3. Learn what the local residents are thinking
  4. Advertise better with more local targeting
  5. Create pages, listings or blogs that boost your SEO and grow your business profile online

I hope this inspires you to get behind the ‘hyper-local’ social networking trend. Regardless of the technology or platform you choose, I’d encourage you to embrace this opportunity to get more connected with your neighbours and build stronger, more vibrant local communities.



  1. Allan Catlin

    Allan Catlin

    May 24, 2014 at 11:29 am

    hyper local networking

    When I was a little boy, if we wanted to meet with or connect with our neighbours, we knocked on the door, asked could we borrow a cup of sugar and said hello.

  2. pamrickett

    February 20, 2015 at 7:02 am


    Great site! Very informative and well said. Thanks a lot for sharing some knowledge because it really helped us a lot especially the tips and advice.

    • badoky

      April 23, 2015 at 3:27 am

      Great article

      Thanks for posting this, I enjoyed reading it – very informative.

    • liveseoservice

      August 28, 2016 at 4:48 am

      Nice one

      Nice one, short and simple. Cheers Diwakar.

  3. kram

    May 13, 2015 at 5:42 am


    It's really good to meet new people and mingle with them. If you have many friends, there are lots of thought and opinions to be learned.

    • thekiddo24

      May 19, 2015 at 1:33 am


      I agree with you – It's really nice to meet new individuals where everyone can share their information and ideas. Thanks for sharing your thought here.

  4. liveseoservice

    September 26, 2016 at 3:54 am


    Very informative and thanks for sharing.