Jun 30 2010
Last Wednesday, our Bellingham Social Media group met to discuss the recent bid our community made for Google’s Fiber For Communities program. Our presenters and panelists were Scott Pierce, a local content strategist, Nathan Carnes, principal of Carnes Media, and David Wiggs, a marketing professional and founder of Hitch. These three men, along with many other Bellingham residents, each took a keen interest in this project. The city commissioned Hand Crank Films to create a video to send to Google with our interest in this program – the video has stirred emotion in many local residents and was even featured on CBS News. We were fortunate to have Traci Hahn of Trac 2.0 Productions filming this presentation. You can view it in 10 minute segments with the following links:
- Google Fiber: A Case Study In Irregular Social Media Part 1
- Google Fiber: A Case Study In Irregular Social Media Part 2
- Google Fiber: A Case Study In Irregular Social Media Part 3
- Google Fiber: A Case Study In Irregular Social Media Part 4
- Google Fiber: A Case Study In Irregular Social Media Part 5
- Google Fiber: A Case Study In Irregular Social Media Part 6
- Google Fiber: A Case Study In Irregular Social Media Part 7
The purpose of this discussion was for the panelists to share their involvement in this project as well as to discuss some of the bigger lessons that were learned from pursuing this campaign. Overall, the theme was community: where to reach it, how to get it involved, and what to do next.
Scott shared the importance of reaching community where it already exists. Some of the things the guys learned in developing a grog (group blog) was that there was already a community developing on Facebook to support Bellingham’s bid, and that the platform chosen to host the group blog was a little buggy and made it difficult for people to participate. Scott played a big role in encouraging community participation through various online channels, which included going to this growing Facebook community because that’s where a lot of support had already been established.
David, a traditional marketing professional, encouraged other local creative agencies to get involved and shared with them the benefits of participation – getting their creative work in front of not only potential new clients, but also in front of the eyes of the executives at Google. He also said that it is important to ask your communities what is important to them before you try to decide for them.
Nathan developed a cool site called BellinghamAtlas to supplement the other efforts being put forth by the Bellingham community that was ignited by the campaign. The site is a place for people to upload photos or videos that are geotagged around the city to show why Google should bring fiber to Bellingham. This was yet another online resource where community came together for a singular cause.
What lessons can you learn from this effort for your own community? Whether we’re talking about online communities or actual neighborhoods, many of the lessons are the same. Most importantly, let people know what they’re getting involved in – asking them to participate without letting them know what’s in it for them is like asking someone to give you money without telling them what it’s for. (that’s called robbery in many cases!) Also, make sure you find out what the community wants and don’t just do what you think the community wants. It’s easier to get support for a group effort when the effort encompasses things that the community has share that it wants or needs. And lastly, keep the effort going. Even if Bellingham does not win this bid, those leading the charge have done extensive research into how to actually bring fiber to our community. We’ve got the information and most certainly will do something with it. And, for a city that is nicknamed ‘The City of Subdued Excitement’, to get the community to rally together like this is incredible, so we’re looking to keep the ball rolling!
How has your local or online community come together for a cause? What are some of the actions you’ve taken to get people more engaged in community efforts? I’d love to hear your stories – please share them in the comments below!