The Ideas For CoSA Community was created unofficially for The City of San Antonio’s Municipal Governement. The group’s purpose is to provide a common online setting for all San Antonio citizens to discuss civic issues and ideas to improve the City.
After testing an independent platform (see ideasforcosa.ideascale.com), it was determined that Facebook was the best platform to launch and grow the community. Facebook provided a large demographic of potential users, including influencers like the City, elected officials, candidates, organizations, and other popular San Antonio people in the civic space. Users on Facebook are mostly transparent and identifiable which lends to more valid civic discourse.
The community was launched by utilizing opportunities in local media and social media, and by inviting personal friends of the Ideas For CoSA Founder. A mass invite was also sent to all Neighborhood Association Presidents, City employees, and City Council Members/Staff.
An initial set of rules was created by the Founder to maintain a basic level of community standards and to direct conversation towards the purpose of the group. New rules have been added as circumstances have introduced their necessity. Private communication between the Moderation team and Community members is conducted as necessary to further promote the purpose of the community. Daily posting and commenting was led by the Moderation team during this beginning phase to facilitate discussion.
Membership has organically grown by allowing Members to invite and approve membership of their Facebook friends. New Members have also found the group through content sharing and organic search. The addition of key moderation team members has influenced membership growth. Tagging of influential people/organizations and hashtags (i.e. #SanAntonio) have expanded awareness. Additional media opportunities are key events to reach new audiences. Membership has consistently grown at 50 new members per week.
There are over 1,625 current members in the Ideas For CoSA group. 3–5 new discussions are started every day. Some posts have reached over 100 comments. City Council members, local media members, organization leaders, City employees, and influential citizens have all engaged the community. There is a wealth of qualitative data that is extremely valuable to the City and other San Antonians. Comment mining, polling, and external surveys have been conducted in the community to gather data on specific topics, issues, and demographics.
As a supplement to the Facebook Group, an email newsletter and audio podcast has been launched by the Founder. Meetups have also been held with Community members.
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