Don’t let Facebook and Twitter fool you, they’re not just to stalk your exes or tell the world about the sad leftovers you’re having for dinner. If you really take the time to drown out the noise of all the Farmville baby cows and “omg, 2 more days ‘til Friday” rants, you’ll find that Facebook and Twitter are some of best sources to interact and learn about what’s going on in your community. These real-time portals are where people are talking about the issues happening right outside your door and where they are joining forces to make a difference.
Whether you’re trying to activate your neighbors for a cause or even if you’re just looking for a place to grab a drink with friends- you can turn to these social networks for help. Almost every business now has a presence on Facebook- from the local dog groomer to multinational corporations- and is using it to engage customers like yourself by offering a closer look into their companies, asking for feedback and even providing special discounts and offers for ‘fans’. By keeping tabs of your favorite local businesses on Facebook you can save money and share your positive (or negative) experiences with others. You can also rally your neighbors by creating ‘Groups’ to share neighborhood news (missing pets, upcoming events, etc.) or to discuss topics that are affecting everyone (Is the construction work on Biscayne Boulevard ever going to be done?!?).
These days it seems everyone is on Twitter too- even madman Charlie Sheen! Twitter works in real-time with short messages that are 140 characters or less. Similar to Facebook, businesses are using Twitter as a way to talk to consumers, answer customer service concerns and more. Once you start ‘following’ your favorites you can send them questions and comments, which will be responded quickly. (For example, send a tweet to your favorite bar- “what are your happy hour specials tonight?”) As you become more comfortable on Twitter you will find many local ‘experts’ to follow that live nearby and have updates on area happenings and insider information. It’s a totally new way of meeting your neighbors and becoming involved in the community.
By using Facebook and Twitter you open yourself to new realm of information and connect with people you may never know otherwise. It’s also a great place to find deals, share your experiences and create an online ‘community’ beyond your zip code. Next time you’re walking your pup or watering the lawn, greet your neighbor and ask them if they’re on Facebook (or Twitter)!
Local Businesses/Organizations on Facebook:
Local Businesses/Organizations on Twitter: