Outside.in launches local-news discussion forums

As the demand for regional- and local-focused social-networking sites grows, the New York-based Outside.in introduces message boards for each "hyperlocal" community.

Outside.in, a New York-based site that aggregates town-specific news, blog posts, and business listings into a sort of Local News 2.0, formally launched a discussion forum feature on Wednesday.

Thie move puts Outside.in more squarely in the league of Yelp and Craigslist, which supplement their respective business reviews and classifieds listings with lively local message boards.

Obviously, discussion boards don't mean anything if there isn't a solid base of users willing to contribute to them regularly. But there certainly are more than a few people who like to rant about their local school board, sidewalks crowded with strollers, and long lines at the post office, and many neighborhoods don't really have online hubs for town chatter yet.

There's a cool twist to Outside.in's message boards too. You can "attach" a location to your posts--if you're writing about a certain bar, for example, Outside.in will add a link to the listing if it detects the name of a local business. (You get to preview it first.)

Meanwhile, the "hyperlocal" niche of the Web continues to get more crowded, with the launch of EveryBlock last week.

What's currently shaking up on Outside.in's message boards for my home island of Manhattan? Finding the coolest bar in the Lower East Side neighborhood or the best place to go for happy hour around Union Square. It's good to see that users' priorities are in the right place.

About the author

Caroline McCarthy, a CNET News staff writer, is a downtown Manhattanite happily addicted to social-media tools and restaurant blogs. Her pre-CNET resume includes interning at an IT security firm and brewing cappuccinos.


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