A wider community is friends and family, and probably a few work colleagues too. But you’re all brought closer together by the technology and the social platform that they prefer to use, whether it’s Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook etc… so it all goes on still, but quietly in the background.
But what if we could harness the power of the online community to help bring many benefits to the community around us? We can, here’s how and some of the benefits to be had…
1. Sense of community
IS THE FEELING OF COMMUNITY A DISTANT MEMORY?
First off, set up an online community that is about your area. It’s not hard to set up, but it may take some work in getting people involved. The best ways to get people involved can include: • Talking to people in the community about the issues that affect them and encouraging them to speak up on the platform you have decided to use • Going to local businesses who thrive on the local community to support you. They may be able to help with print costs, putting flyers in shop windows… just ask them!
2. Know your area
BECOME A CHAMPION OF YOUR COMMUNITY
An online community can help you to know your area – become a champion of YOUR community.
Really get under the skin of the area where you live. You may surprise yourself with how many local services there are. Searching for businesses on your doorstep can be a real eye-opener - so many small businesses operate from their home as a business property can be expensive.
Businesses who usually operate from their home can pass on savings to new customers… there may be a bargain to grab!
3. Make new friends
BUILDING NEW RELATIONSHIPS CAN SPARK NEW BEGINNINGS
Many local websites allow you to comment on posts or even allow you to join a forum - normally free! The benefit with that is you can join in the conversation and find likeminded people who share the same passions as you.
It can be anything from finding someone to spend some lonely hours with to building an entire network to band together to get better deals from larger organisations - like utility suppliers! There’s no end to opportunities!
4. Getting better deals
CLUB TOGETHER AND SAVE A PACKET
Money is tight. Everyone feels the pinch - especially in times of austerity. So how do you get the best out of being part of a community? - Simple, just ask!
In my home town, the local grocer who works with local farmers has regular offers on his fruit and veg - but you can only have those discounts if you download a voucher from his Facebook page! - Selling fruit and veg from Facebook isn't something I thought I'd ever see! But because the local businesses recognise the value of online communities – there are further bargains to be had!
5. Isolation busting
BEING LONELY IS HEARTBREAKING
The level of which you choose to engage and take part in an online community is up to you - even the smallest of conversations can make a huge difference. Some people are stuck in the home, alone - the only view out is either a window or a telly. But with better awareness, online communities can tackle this issue.
CUT THE COST OF SPENDING FOR TOOLS WE ALL USE
Instead of struggling to cut your grass with a pair of scissors or hammer a nail with a can of beans (believe me, I've seen that!) - share with your neighbours! We may not be able to afford some of the things we would only use maybe once or twice - like a drill. The average amount of time a drill is used is 15 minutes in the average home. Why not share with your neighbour - create your own tool bank with your friends and help each other!
Promoting local businesses for excellence can lead to better sales - which can lead to expansion - which can lead to the need for jobs being filled! This is an extreme example - but it's true! The principle of being promoting a local business has many benefits - mostly that your community will trust you! After all, are you going to believe a stranger or a friend?
8. Influence your government
One person saying something doesn't carry much weight when no-one is listening. But build a network of friends and other passionate people online and you can achieve great things - like influence your local authority or even the Government to make better-informed decisions!