It happens here: Consumer-centric Innovation in Charlotte and beyond

Charlotte goes back to school! Hyperlocal news you can use by Nheeda Enriquez
flickr photo credits: NIOSH + michael mx5tx

flickr photo credits: NIOSH + michael mx5tx

I’ve been cooking up an article for Charlotte Viewpoint about the role of social media in delivering hyperlocal news for Charlotteans.  One of the examples I reference is a company called, which is simply an application that provides service updates on commuter lines through text messages posted by fellow commuters.

With yesterday as the official first day Charlotte-Mecklenburg students (begrudgingly) return to their classrooms, I thought about how that concept might also be helpful to the parents (and other locals stuck in the related traffic.)

I noticed that April Bethea of the Charlotte Observer encouraged parents to tweet their “first day of school” stories and pictures for all to enjoy.  Also entwined are concerns about the spread of swine flu in schools, and I can imagine Google’s Flu Trends serving up data, in real time, to local parents deciding whether or not to send their child to school on a particular day.

Hyperlocal news delivery is quickly evolving all around us.  Where else in our lives will it sneak in?

Our Chamber of Commerce doesn’t use Twitter just because it’s trendy by Nheeda Enriquez

twitter_chamberLast week, I caught up with the Charlotte Chamber of Commerce‘s Julia Walton and Melisa LaVergne.  I wanted to learn more about the Chamber’s recent use of social media.

They didn’t get on facebook or LinkedIn or Twitter because all the cool chamber kids were doing it.

Apparently, it was because the 2009 branding budget was slashed.  To $0.  So to get the word out about upcoming events and communicate all the great reasons to be a member, they had to come up with a marketing plan that was, for all intents and purposes, free.  Talk about recession marketing.

LaVergne and Walton added that there are additional benefits beyond saving money.  They’ve hosted popular workshops on getting started in social media, bringing even more value to their member businesses.  Many members have leveraged these tools to catch podcasted events when they can’t network in person.  And they’ve been able to recruit new members like myself, those who might not have run into them if it weren’t for social media.

Check out the Chamber of Commerce’s: