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Abstract

Building upon previous community Web visibility findings, this study investigated the extent to which the Web identities of our region's communities were crafted through grassroots communication, as well as the extent to which these communities' online identities communicated the potential for Local economic development. Findings indicate that consumers navigating the Internet would be unable to extract a reasonable sense of place about many of our communities, in part because few of our regional community identities are fashioned through locally produced community information. lnstead, emerging search engine and Web dynamics include colonization by an increasing number of external agents producing communication about Local communi­ties, often without any coherent connection to those locales. Content analyses of community Web pages also reveal that the extramural production of Web information min­imizes the direct potential of the Web to foster local economic growth.

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