Local Social Media Savvy: #ChiUptown

February 20, 2010 § Leave a comment

I live in a “transitional” neighborhood in Chicago, diverse in just about every way. Many different types of families, ethnicities, generations, and classes live withing close proximity. This poses many challenges as differences bump up against each other. So while I admittedly have not gotten to know many of my neighbors in the two years since we moved in, and none of them well, the community around me is important to me and I want to do what I can to support its improvement.

This involves having a general awareness of local politics and current events, supporting local business, attending arts events, and civic participation in general.

Since moving here, much of this has been facilitated for me by social media. There are many neighborhood blogs in and around Chicago, and The Uptown Update happens to be one of the best in Chicago. This blog has established itself as a primary source of information for residents.

I would really like to see more social media take off locally. I have been able to connect with a handful of people on Twitter and Facebook who live nearby, but I haven’t seen community members take full advantage of the tools with the intention of connecting with neighbors and community organizing. It seems to me that Twitter could be especially beneficial in terms of communicating up-to-the minute happenings to neighbors, whether it is a quickly developing situation like the riots that were happening here last summer, or people getting the word out about a town hall meeting.

So I have begun a lone one-woman effort (for the moment) to use a Twitter hash tag for my neighborhood: #ChiUptown. I use it when I’m out and about, patronizing local businesses, walking the dog, or when ever I have anything to say about goings-on in the ‘hood. I would love to connect with other locals this way. Hopefully it will catch on.

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