I truly believe that in all communications, information sharing, marketing and even community building there is a natural balancing between more-and-more-global and more-and-more-local. Social media may connect people around the world but it can also connect them locally. Just as our tools get more interesting and dynamic for global collaboration and impact, so do they for locally-focused work, campaigns, and communities.
According to the Pew Neighbors Online study recently released, 27% of American adult Internet users (or 20% of adults overall) use “digital tools to talk to their neighbors and keep informed about community issues.
The power of social media in a global context is two-fold: There’s huge potential with these news tools for real movement building, bringing organizations, campaigns and people together behind a movement and not just one brand or one call to action. Global use of social media is also a great way to amplify voices, ideas, and stories.
The power of using social media in a local context focuses most directly on just those things that make “local” different: being “here,” connecting online and offline, taking action collectively and delivering services.
The opportunities for organizations to leverage hyper local tools include:
- Catalyze your community – be the catalyst behind community growth and collaboration.
- Fuel efforts or campaigns – target energy and capacity to promote and drive local impact.
- Build buzz and spread news – be the hub and resource for news and information.
- Get connected – be part of the community yourself by connecting with other organizations, community leaders, and individuals.
Estrella Rosenburg shares her case study using FourSquared in the 100×100 campaign on the Community Organizers 2.0 blog. The Brooklyn Museum has done a lot with FourSquare, like sharing promotions and building visible community; check out the write up on the FourSquare blog or on the Museum’s site.
Meetup Everywhere is “an open and free internet platform for sparking Meetups everywhere about something. It’s only been out for a couple months and I think it has a bit more to go to be as dynamic and interesting as it really could be, but it’s a great way to see how easy it can be to inspire local action and interaction with your community. Check out the Meetup Everywhere site to see examples of how organizations and causes, like the Gulf Coast Benefit for Fisherman and Wildlife, are taking off.
There are various tools for hyperlocal searching, and one I’m looking at recently is called Sency for Cities. I think there’s a lot of potential for hyper local search and the power that comes with geo-tags/data. Creating a map or other aggregate of local resources, conversations, news and so on (even if it was done in a dashboard) could help your community and help position your organization as the hub.
Don’t forget the global context!
As you leverage tools for local impact, don’t forget the power they hold for going global. Continue to offer ways people who can’t be in your local community can contribute or spread the word, and even work on your behalf wherever they are.
What do you think?
What examples do you have to share? Is your organization thinking about using social media in a local context – if so, what are you working on and what questions do you have? Does your organization or local area have a case study to share? I’d love to hear it!