Helping Neighbors Connect and Build Community

Proof That Users of Online Neighborhoods Are More Engaged in Their Community

April 18, 2010 by Carline · 29 Comments

The November 2009 Pew Internet Report, “Social Isolation and New Technology: How the internet and mobile phones impact American’s social networks,” provides interesting insights into the benefits of belonging to a neighborhoods email lists or discussion forums.

A small number of Americans – 4% (N=103) – reported that they belonged to a neighborhood email list or internet discussion forum for their neighborhood (e.g., i-neighbors.org). Although this suggests that only a small fraction of neighborhoods are using the internet for local communication and information sharing, those who do adopt this technology benefit from high levels of neighborhood engagement.

I am a proof of this finding. I attended my city Town Hall (neighborhood meeting) for the very first time last week after residing in my city for nearly 11 years! This act is 100% attributed to my involvement with ToolzDO in its new form of an online neighborhood platform.

Prior to that, I was a recipient of public services! Many of us balk at recipients of welfare but are we not the same when we do not engage and take greater responsibility in the issues facing our community?

Are we not the same when we leave it to government to fix all our town’s problems? Hey, Mr. government what are your going to do about this and that or why have you not yet fixed this and that.

We have lost the spirit of traditional barn raising (in the US anyway) and have become government dependent in all kind of different ways, not just welfare. There are many issues where neighbors can come together and address in far more effective and cheaper ways.

But you have to show up in your community.

We should only ask Government to help on issues too big for organized citizens to address and to create and maintain a fair and just system. There are many screaming “Foul Play” at big government but what are they doing individually or as a community to take ownership of issues impacting their community?

I am not a political person. Actually, I passionately dislike politics (not the politicians who truly serve with a heart and the love of their community). Maybe that is why I shied away from meetings at the City Hall so long.

With this new sense of responsibility, I’ve also come to realize that many issues are not government issues but community issues that can be citizen led and supported. Isn’t it how most causes came to be and thrive? – One citizen moved to action; Clara Barton and the Red Cross, Estella Moriartywas and SOS Children’s Village Florida, or Irene of 4Kids of South Florida.

We each have the power to change things.  All we have to do is believe that we do.

It felt really good to voice my concerns and to feel that they have been heard. I look forward to taking the next step to contribute and being part of the solution – solutions driven by neighbors.

How have you participated or contributed to the bettering of your neighborhood? Or what stops you from participating?

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