We had a great time at the Neighborhoods USA conference the other week here in Minneapolis.
We added some general content on email newsletters and Facebook Pages for neighborhood associations presented by Executive Director, Steven Clift and then a nice and condensed version of lessons from our inclusive BeNeighbors.org effort by our Outreach Manager, Corrine Bruning.
Long story short – don’t underestimate the value of neighbors inviting you into their email inbox where you retain full control over when and how you want to communicate with local residents. With Facebook “edgerank” determining whether your updates are actually seen by those who use Facebook regularly, ironically you might find your organization using email to drive viewers to your Facebook Page with the hope of it then being shared with that social ecology.
Video – Part 1 – Opening, Email Newsletters, Facebook Pages – Steven Clift
Video – Part 2 – Inclusive Online Engagement – Corrine Bruning (fast forward to 7:22 to get to Corrine’s main presentation, note that the final 3 minutes are cut off)
One interesting side note – as you can’t see the raising of hands during the in-room survey. It was clear that very few of the neighborhood-focused government civil servants and neighborhood association staff wanted to use their named personal Facebook accounts as part of their public work … except for some the elected officials in the room (of course a third are also blocked from Facebook at work). Facebook terms only allow you to have one account. We think it is vital that staff with community groups and government offices (from the place of worship secretary to the local park director or librarian) should be able to engage the local public online without over exposing theirÂ private life online.
One other survey result – while well over half of the room reported “electronic block club” like activity in their community, when I asked if it covered more than 5% of blocks, all but one hand went down. This put the challenge of how we spread online nearest neighbor connecting beyond those block with a communications “maven” or leader.