How the Internet brings communities together

When one thinks of community building, one often thinks of a farmers market, a communal barbecue or potluck, or other community events that are shared together. However, community events in the 21st century include all these things and more as much of the community building is moving online. More and more communities are using social media to help build up awareness on various community issues, plans, fundraisers, or events.

Building communities online is easier than ever before with social media as you can now reach out to and link diverse segments of your community that previously may not have been in the loop before. Places like Facebook and other social media hubs utilize the information that users put in to be able to create a digitized user profile. This profile can be used for a myriad of ways, not the least of which is digital marketing. If there are individuals in the community or people whom you know who would like to be a part of community events but you have not yet connected with them, then Facebook or other social media hubs have mechanisms of determining people who are most likely to want to become a part of your group.

You can target your advertising to people within a certain demographic, age, job profession, and even a specific location. By using this information you can reach out to specific segments of the community who would be most responsive or interested in your efforts at building community. Perhaps you’re trying to get diverse religious groups together for a panel, or perhaps you are looking for everybody who enjoys bowling to come for a bowling tournament or event – no matter what it is you are trying to build, social media has given us public access to the tools necessary for building our online communities. It’s getting easier to target specific communities with social media marketing.

Online community building is not just about attracting new members; it is also about being able to disseminate information to members or individuals you already are in contact with. Without having to fumble around through large email lists or things like that, you are simply able to put everybody together who has a previous interest in a topic, who liked your page, or who’s interested in following local community events and send them information both through updating your Facebook page and through private messenger. The additional benefit of this is that people are more likely to support community building concepts online than they do in person. On the internet somebody has the power of both anonymity and to be able to support you from his or her arm chair.

The last and most important part of building community online is since it is easier for individuals to support you in your online community building efforts you are more likely to get a larger online turn out than you are a physical one. Don’t be dismayed if your physical turnouts are nil while your online membership is high. High online membership still means that you have people who are interested in the cause or concept, and who are receiving regular updates.

Do not underestimate the power of an individual to turn out for online events, or to support you or your other community building events online whilst they may not be willing or able to in person. The fact is, 10,000 Facebook friends is still 10,000 people and with proper social media marketing you can reach many more. So don’t be dismayed at small beginnings and know that a digital audience is just as real as a physical one.