It is All About a Neighborhood

Final Blog Post- Rosmari Graham

Title: It is All About a Neighborhood

“Can we get the best of both worlds? Can we have a medium that spreads messages to a large audience, but also allows all the members of that audience to engage with one another like a single community?  The answer seems to be No (Shirky, 2002).  Has this changed since the writings of Shirky in April of 2002?  Is it is now possible to spread messages to larger crowd that allows all of the members of that crowd to engage with one another like a single community.  It is all about creating a sense of neighborhood.  This is not a recent development or a new concept based on advances in technology or social media.  One name really explains it all, Mr. Rogers.  Mr. Rodgers created a neighborhood that inspired generations of children from different socioeconomic backgrounds, races, genders and intellectual capabilities. 

Imagine a world today if Mr Rodgers were alive and wanting to create that neighborhood feeling using social media and engage an even broader audience. Twitter does provide some methods of community engagement that creates a system of response based on interest.  It allows people to be as involved as they want.  Facebooks also provides this opportunity to some extent.  Twitter particularly has increased at a drastic rate with more than 2.9 percent of the world population being active users (Leetaru,, 2013).  Imagine the messages that Fred Rodgers could send requesting people to be his neighbor.  One key to using social media to engage mass audiences and still create the sense of neighborhood also involves developing social media strategies that are interconnected and not using a standalone strategy (Hanna, 2011).

A second key to success is in the message itself. Fred Rodgers was a master of creating a message that would be remembered and would engage a diverse audience.  It was not a medium that at the time was able to create a community of response but the message continues on decades after his death.  Creating a message that creates community buy in also creates engagement both in positive and negative realms.  The most recent example of this in a world of politics was President Trump and his social media extravaganza.  He is the first president to effectively use social media to win a campaign election.  He created a message, “Make America Great Again” and was able to create buy in using this message to capture a large community or neighborhood of disenfranchised Americans.

What will the future bring? Whatever the latest technology has in store, leveraging the power of the message will always be important.  Depending on the medium, it will be important to create a system that does not create information overload as discussed by Shirky is his presentation.  This will cause the message to be lost and create broken sidewalks in the neighborhood that is trying to be created.  Community engagement will be lost in the click of a finger.  Delete.


Hanna, R. Rohm, A., & Crittenden, V. L. (2011). We’re all connected:  The power of the social media ecosystem. Business horizons, 54(3), 265-273.

Leetaru, K.H, Wang, S., Padmanabhan. A & Shook, E. (2013). Mapping the global Twitter hearbeat:  The geography of Twitter. First Monday.


Shirky, Clay. (2002). Communities, Audiences, and Scale.  Clay Shirky’s Writings About the Internet:  Networks, Economics, and Culture.


2 thoughts on “It is All About a Neighborhood

  1. Hey Rosmari!

    Brilliant comparison of Shirky’s community to Mr. Rogers neighborhood. If we’re looking at technology through the scope of Roger’s Ideals, it’s easier to see ourselves emulating more of a community aspect in our social media presence.

    I have to disagree with you on trump being the first president to effectively utilize social media in their campaign. When we take a look at older presidents who were campaigning when other media platforms were just becoming relevant, I see it as Trump being the first to take Twitter to the political platform. and his success is all about perspective, for some it’s still harming him and the country he now leads, but for others they look at it as the foundation of his victory over Clinton. This also goes into what you said about buying into his Make America Great again buy in. I don’t think the simple concept of making America a better place was what attracted [most] of his voters, but I do think his social media presence and his personal values and views were very public and people bought more into that than the actual concept of making America a better place for everyone. I think Trump’s media presence was also a huge factor in dividing the country, thus disrupting Shirky’s community theory.

    Overall great read!



  2. Rosemari,

    I agree that the engagement of an audience is constant with Twitter, and strangely enough, there are various ‘community’ traits that peep out. However, personally, I continue to lack a purpose for Twitter in my personal life or career. But I am open to giving it a try again.

    In the 2016 election, Trump’s team did an excellent job at utilizing Twitter and reaching people through a more interpersonal, human, and direct approach. People want to know as much as possible about one another, and he made himself visible and I accessible. Therefore, I agree with you that to use the medium effectively, users must stay away from a stand-alone model of social media strategy and be versatile and willing to evolve with the media.


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