is interesting to watch, learn about and mess with…even if you live in San Francisco, which like most biger American cities doesn’t have many local users. But it is makeing a big impact in helping other, smaller cities across the U.S. to get their readers chatting and participating online. This is helping mainstream media companies to step into the online participation generation.

I got to meet CEO Chris Tolles at the Social Media Club in San Francisco in August. I sat in front of him and the two other panelists — Evan Hansen of Editor in Chief of Wired News & Assignment Zero and Kevin Rose of

Chris has a great perspective — honesty with an edge. He even stopped to talk with me and Tom Foremski outside KQED studios and asked about what we were up to. Like a good salesman, he left us with an assignment to sign up as an editor on the Intel channel. Cool and savvy!

See Chris interviewed by Andy Plesser on Beet.TV:

There’s been a lot of concern among major media that this constitutes a further cannibalization of original reporting by search engines and content aggregators.

Brad interviews CEO Chris Tolles.

Topix generates more that 60,000 comments a day from news. Many of these comments are generated around local stories and are syndicated to local newspapers and local news web sites. About a third of the comments generated every day go to sites owned by the Tribune and Gannett newspaper chains. So, maybe this is one link in the food chain where aggregated news can feed the original content creator.

Here’s my interview with Chris Tolles of Topix. We caught at Stanford earlier this month at the AlwaysOn conference.

— Andy Plesser

Here’s a link to a video by PodTech’s Rio Pesino, who talks with some interesting Bay Area news lovers, haters and players

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