Locals Online – Meet the Greeters Who Help You Meet the Neighbors

If the Cleveland-Park neighborhood e-mail list in DC can reach almost 10,000 subscribers, why not 500 people in your neighborhood? Go for it.

In my own Standish Ericsson neighborhood we are close to 500 members or just over 10% of households… and let me tell you, it is awesome. If you have been looking for the most effective, sustainable, rewarding, and powerful way to build local community and promote public engagement then look no further than “locals online.”

As part of E-Democracy.org’s Participation 3.0 effort and our focus is on “moving the field” rather than just our model (more “Got Milk” and less buy our brand), we are working to convene people across the many sectors of online civic engagement. Locals Online is the place where hosts of neighborhood e-mail lists, blogs, social networks, and more can connect and swap stories and lessons. Join us and sign the invite letter.

8 Million Participants, Ten of Thousands of Hosts – And Growing

One of the buried factoids from the Pew Internet and American Life Project last year is that 4% of American adults or 8 million people are members of good old “neighborhood e-mail lists.” If the average neighborhood e-mail list is 200 people (could be more or less) that means 40,000 people have step up to successfully create an online public space for their neighbors. Even if it is 20,000, no one had any idea this movement promoting the future of engagement existed at this level. No one.

This could grow fast.

Whether it is on YahooGroups, Google Groups, Ning, or Facebook, a quick hunt for local online groups brings up perhaps 10 empty shells with just a few members for every one successful local online public space. The technology made it easy for 360,000 people to fail at a low cost and 40,000 of us broke through and managed to convince our neighbors to join us online (very much a close to one person a time adventure from my experience) to the tune of 8 million overall.

The neighbors movement online is completely below the radar and most successful efforts barely know about the local online spaces beyond their immediate area. We want to change that by gathering a few hundred hosts of online neighborhood efforts in a space we can use to exchange stories, lessons, and advice Imagine if we simply captured our top ten lessons and the success rate for new neighborhood spaces went from 10% to 20% by spreading our collective advice. We’d serve another 8 million people (far more globally for that matter) in no time. Wow. That might be the easy part. The real challenge is finding the first few hundred online neighborhood hosts who don’t yet know they are part of a movement.

Can you help by sending the local revolutionaries you know to http://e-democracy.org/locals

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