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3 examples of using social media to support dialogue activities

A blue paper airlplane

It is possible to have active community discussions using social media, but you have to find what works for you. Here are some examples of successful community social media efforts:

1. Downtown Essex Junction:

Facebook fan page: http://bit.ly/9cyghz

Details: In a town of around 8,000 people, the Downtown Essex Junction page has over 1,300 fans! Most of what happens on that page is reminiscing with a little bit of talking about issues. Their main goal is to generate interest for face-to-face meetings.

One member said that the page "is a great resource for our community to share and get accurate information - most of our elected officials and municipal staff are members too."

Why we think it's successful: Posting photos and reminiscing brings people together and gets them talking. It makes their page interesting enough for people want to go back.

 

2. York Community Dialogue:

Details: In York Maine, participants of the York Community Dialogue wanted to have a virtual meeting place for the townspeople. They had over 100 active members and they discuss everything from proposed tax increases to hiking trails.

Why we think it was successful: There are three reasons why we think this group was so successful:

  1. The idea for the online discussion came out of a community dialogue. This is what the people wanted, so they are more likely to put in the time and effort to visit the group and contribute to discussions.
  2. They got a lot of press. They've been featured in several articles on seacoastonline.com and they have links on the York Adult Education and York Rotary Club websites.
  3. Regular posts. Each week they posted a "question of the week." This draws interest from group members because they want to know what they'll talk about next and they can expect to find updates whenever they visit.

 

3. United Ames:

Facebook page: http://bit.ly/9tb9Mm Twitter page: http://twitter.com/UnitedAmes

Details: They have nearly 400 fans on Facebook and nearly 600 followers on Twitter. While their profiles are not active anymore, they still provide a good example of how to use social media in community initiative. They mainly posted updates on what's happening in the community either through news articles or announcements of upcoming events.

Why we think it was successful: In addition to posting news and announcements, they also took time to thank people and write personal notes. This lets people know there is a real person behind the site and makes it a more relaxed environment. They also featured their Facebook and Twitter pages prominently on their website. If their Facebook fans were different than their followers on Twitter, they managed to reach people from two different audiences.

 

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Dialogue to Change

Our ultimate goal is to create positive community change that includes everyone, and we believe that our tools, advice, and resources will help foster that kind of change. Whether you’re grappling with a divisive community issue, or simply want to include residents’ voices in city government, Everyday Democracy's Dialogue to Change process, using a racial equity lens, can help.