WHILE STANDING ON THE town plaza, looking at Kearney's Castle (at right), I felt my phone vibrate with a Bluetooth download. The file was coming from the old Town Hall and it was an audio tour of the town. I accepted the file and listened to it on a walkabout of Cashel, remembering how I used to record my impressions of Cashel and Kilkenny for backpackers to download from iTunes. Those audio clips worked because they attracted people to the places I talked about in the podcasts. They worked because I was a local guy but with an American accent. We need to create more of those audio files today because the future lies in making local work. Traffic to directories with user generated content (UGC) continues to grow at a faster rate than yellow pages directories. LeeAnn Prescott explained why several years ago and nothing has arrested that trend. Today, apps like Foursquare, Google Latitude, Wikitude, and augmented reality applications make compelling adventures out of casual walkabouts.
The local press and community groups should take more of a lead in this area, offering databases they create with API services that they support that tell locals and visitors about parks, medical facilities, restaurants, schools, consumer-supplied ratings for restaurants, and services by sole traders.
As I stood to take the shot of Kearney's Castle (above right), I would have paused to read a proximity message from the Kilkenny Shop or Book Nook behind me. And if that special message was a voucher for a special offer, I would have walked into the shop after it opened.
I'll try that experiment in a few months and hope to be surprised.
LeeAnn Prescott -- "Social Local Search Sites Up 44% in Past Year", 4 October 2006.
Previously: "The Future Is" on Irish Eyes, 6 October 2006.
Phil Campbell interviews Hockley traders on Audioboo.