Streetlife: what does it mean for community journalists?

By Emma Meese | 20th Mar 2015

Invites have been dropping through letterboxes across the UK, urging people to join their neighbours in discussing local issues online.  Social media platform Streetlife.com has used a traditional method of reaching a new digital audience. A strategy that seems to be working very well.

In the last week a letter has landed on my mat and sponsored Facebook posts have dropped in my timeline – both encouraging me to connect with my community and share my news and views on local issues and events.After signing up the marketing continues with a daily update in my email inbox, alerting me to the current discussions in my neighbourhood.

So, what is Streetlife.com? It’s a social network which almost three years ago partnered with Archant Media. Back in June 2012, Nina Whittaker, head of communities for Streetlife.com, told Journalism.co.uk the local social network is in no way aiming to be a hyperlocal news site but instead “complements Archant’s local news sites”.

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Archant’s Streetlife platform, “the local social network”

I’m not convinced this message has been relayed to the general public. I found it very difficult to find any front facing evidence of this partnership though the platform.  By signing up to Streetlife using your postcode you’re connected to people and conversations in your local area. Their website states you can post messages, events, polls and pictures and locals can respond. This could obviously be a very valuable tool for community journalists.

But what happens to your content if you’re a community reporter who has a scoop, or exclusive story, on the platform? The main thing is you own all of the content and information you post on Streetlife.com. However – according to their terms of service – by uploading any content covered by intellectual property rights, such as photos and videos, you grant Streetlife a royalty free, worldwide license to use any IP content that you post on their platform.

While it looks like it could be a great source of information for all community journalists and a great way to reach your audience, I’ll be interested to see how it develops as a tool for the hyperlocal sector, bearing in mind the partnership Streetlfe has with Archant.

If you have any experience or thoughts on using Streetlife, we’d love to hear about them.

Homepage image accompanying this article is copyright Dom Crossley.

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