The key to effective social networks is maintaining a common sense of purpose and a feeling that change and progress is still achievable.
Small towns benefit greatly from the goodwill and influence of individuals. So do neighbourhoods, alumni classes, your work unit and other small groups.
The challenge for social media advocates will be to mute all the talk of larger networks influencing the individual, and learn to emphasize collective benefits (that might not necessarily be to the advantage of corporate or organizational sponsors)
There is power in social networks and small communities. Classic example, when the local Bakotopia.com got heat for one of his racy covers last year, Inga Barks took to the airwaves, criticizing every bit of it.
She invited the editor and myself on air to discuss, er, debate the issue, and we obliged but what was more interesting was how Bakotopia.com online users took it to the airwaves as well. They poured in via calls to her show in our defense. They had just learned of the show about an hour prior when Bakotopia Editor Matt Munoz said we were going live on the show to discuss it. The incident united the online community and they began blogging about it over a few days. Pretty neat to see the effect of social media.
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