The Role of Social Media and Online Community in Building Neighborhood-Based Community
May 10, 2012 2 Comments
May 2012, Brianna Menning Community built online can be a false sense of community. This is not to say that it doesn’t have a role, but that it’s difficult to build authenticity in relationships with something like Facebook if there isn’t also an in-person relationship.
There are a number of new sites and tools coming out recently that are working to build community through online networking, some of which we have previously mentioned here (nextdoor.com, for example). There are more tools (which I will mention below) that I get excited about as a way to help build community, but cannot be the only attempt we make at community, or they will never lead to anything.
These are sites like Neighborland, which is now open in a few cities across the country (including Minneapolis, where I am), and allows neighborhood members to list things that they would like to see in their neighborhood, and allows other people to agree, creating movement around an idea that might not have previously connected these people together. But unless these people make their voices heard to neighborhood groups to get more people involved, or ask to speak to groups like the city council, these sites will only get so far. In person organizing and connecting must happen in order to create the change they wish to see. I am excited by the possibility for sites like this to partner with in-person connecting, and also as a way to connect people who care about issues that we might not otherwise be aware of.
How can we use these tools to connect people who primarily build community online through social media and websites to people who have little internet access, and might not be aware of movement around an issue that they too care about? What role can community connectors play in bridging this gap? This is what I care about– and these are the steps we must take in our efforts to move below the red line.
Other sites doing cool things:
NeighborGoods– where you can create a list of goods you have available to lend to others in your neighborhood, and can check their lists to borrow from them when you need to
Do you have any other ideas of sites worth checking out? Let us know in the comments!
Contact Brianna at: [email protected]