Communication channels are a large problem in suburban towns.
How do we reach out to each other? How do we find out what events are happening nearby, or what we can go out and do with the family today? If I’m a business or a non-profit organization, how do I let other people know what I’m doing?
Of course, there are the traditional channels to accomplish some of these goals. You can advertise in your local newspaper, or sending out a mailing. Put a promotion on television or the radio, or utilize the mailing lists of some of the larger organizations in town.
But in the end these channels are all disparate. As a person looking for something to do, we need to check some if not all of these channels to even have a hope of finding out what’s going on around us on any given day. As an organization trying to reach out to a large group of people, you have to distribute your event information to most of these places to have even the smallest hope of somebody noticing.
Your best bet at finding out about things is word of mouth, which is actually quite shocking when you think about it. We rely more on serendipity than anything else to participate in our community.
So why am I writing about this?
This is a technology column, after all. And one of the greatest things that technology has enabled is global, mass communication. Things like Facebook, Twitter, Skype, and blogs allow us to reach a potentially large audience with relative ease. I’ve talked about this before in this column, as a matter of fact.
But what about local communication? Technology doesn’t seem to have solved this problem yet, and this is largely due to problems with adoption and critical mass.
Is it an unsolvable problem? How do we use technology to bring communities and neighbors together? This is a challenge that I hope we can address, because it’s a worthwhile problem to rid ourselves of. By creating a community where people are able to stay local on any given day, we make this place around us a better place to live. By bringing people together to form friendships and relationships, we improve all of our lives.
This is something I hope technology can do for Mokena. I just don’t know how to do it yet.