Restaurants, doctors, locksmiths, massage therapists, all get most of their business from their extended neighborhood. Even when you're able to do business anywhere, such as Web designers, business coaches, and super nannies, we still find that we get a large part of our business form the local economy.
Whether through desire or necessity, many of us search out local people to network with. If this sounds like you, there are plenty of Twitter applications that help you find local tweeps, including LocalTweeps or the search tool on Tweetie for the iPhone, my favorite desktop app is Nearby Tweets.
Unlike a lot of its competition, the layout of the site is slick and elegant. It will often recognize where you are in the world and pre-populate your location. If it's not right, or if you'd rather find tweeps in the city you'll be visiting next week, just change your location.
Next up you can filter the results by keyword. Although when I'm looking for new local folks to follow I generally leave this spot blank, you could find out who locally is "hungry" or cheering on the "Patriots" by using the keyword filter.
Last up you can vary the search radius to whatever size you want. The default is 100 miles, but feel free to shrink it to 10 or double it to 200. Once you hit search, Nearby Tweets will pull up all the recent tweets from the people who meet your criteria in the right hand column, and their avatars on the left. It's up to you to decide whether you want to follow them or not.
I generally right-click their profile pages into a new tab in Firefox, go through the list, and then check out their profiles one at a time.
This isn't a tool where you add yourself to a directory, nor does it ask you for any of your own Twitter information. (Thank God.) In fact, like Search.Twitter.com, you don't even need to be on Twitter to use it.
Very slick, very powerful, very free. Check it out .