In my assessment, Lost Dogs of Adelaide has emerged as a stellar example of both community building and social media engagement because it is best practice in both its technical use of social media platforms and how it manages the LDOA community.
In particular, it:
- reshares content posted or messaged to the page by followers concerning sightings, losts, founds, deceased animals to the page – this is the most critical thing, because if people were simply invited to leave their information on the page wall, it would not appear in the feed of followers, which triggers sharing, likes and responses
- is using an existing, familiar platform where people already are interacting, and which makes it easy to rapidly share content, especially from mobile devices
- has proactive volunteer administrators who are committed, organised and professional
- cross-posts information from other pages, animal shelters and local council pounds on the page, and provides advice on what action to take if a pet is lost (or found)
- provides a free service, almost 24/7 (the hours of 2am-6am are usually less likely to result in admin support) – no organisation could match what LDOA offers in terms of both temporal and spatial coverage
- it taps into people’s passion – their animals – and meets a need better than other options in terms of reach, prompt sharing of information, and being free to use
I never realised how many lost animals there were in my city before this page – but more than that, I didn’t realise how an online community could also be a real community that makes a difference in peoples’ lives, and how many kind and selfless people there are who are willing to give their time, attention and help to others.
If all of this can be achieved by a handful of volunteers, on NO budget, in less than three years – what can this same approach do for building peer-to-peer communities for sustainability, or for how government works?