In Philly, the city with probably hundreds of civic associations and neighborhood groups, one neighborhood group has developed a seriously engaged online community: the Fishtown Neighbors Association (FNA).
On Axis Philly’s list of the top ten most-followed neighborhood-related Twitter accounts, @fishtown, FNA‘s Twitter handle, ranks third, with more than 3,600 followers. While it may not have @officialsouthst or @KenzoRenewal beat, it’s one of the few on the list that isn’t a development corporation or a special services district with a paid staff (like @officialsouthst).
FNA is an example of a traditional neighborhood association that has adopted and thrived online with the help of a volunteer board interested in the communication. This is opposed to, say, Kensington Renewal, which does not have a paid staff but is less a neighbors group and more of a mission-based organization (the group is working on getting its nonprofit standing, said founder Jamie Moffett). @fishtown‘s success is probably also due in part to the Fishtown online message boards.
It’s worth noting the obvious: the more successful neighborhood groups on Twitter tend to represent neighborhoods that might be most likely to have residents that intersect the two needs here, (a) social media literacy and (b) empowerment enough to get involved in civic action. That means a lot of neighborhoods that might get put in the gentrification bucket, fairly or not.
@KenzoRenewal, Moffett pointed out, is a bit of an outlier in this case, since Moffett uses Twitter to reach an audience outside of his direct neighborhood. As he told Axis Philly, social media “was the right way to start sharing a message about an idea in a little neighborhood that most tech-savvy people don’t pay attention to.”
Find Axis Philly’s list of the top ten most-followed neighborhood-related Twitter accounts here.
Find Axis Philly’s Twitter list of neighborhood groups here.
And read Axis Philly’s story on how neighborhood groups are using Twitter here.
Updated 3:03 p.m. 3/3/13 to add clarifications about @KenzoRenewal.-30-