By Cathy Yen
Recently I have observed a significant increase in Facebook activity here in our community. More "groups" have formed, more people have joined groups and more people are posting and engaging with the groups, it seems to me.
"Groups" are more like online communities than "pages." A "page" is a Facebook platform for organizations to provide information, promote events or products or publish messages in a one-to-many format. Groups, on the other hand, are meant for people to engage with each other in a discussion forum. Like a much-evolved "chat board" from the earliest days of the internet.
Some of the most active local groups are politically motivated and doing a good job of keeping like-minded people connected and engaged. Oak Park Progressive Women and Suburban Unity Alliance both boast a very active membership.
Other groups are taking the place of neighborhood phone trees. Instead of calling each other or chatting at the bus stop, people are posting to hyper-local Facebook neighborhood groups – Northeast Oak Park Community Group, South Oak Park Neighbors, etc. You'll find events, questions, news and crime sightings.
Other popular groups speak to the interests of the participants. OPRF High School Parents, Oak Park Working Moms, River Forest and Oak Park Virtual Garage Sale, OPRF MOMentum, Build Forest Park, Forest Park Town Hall, Chamber Women in Business, Oak Park Retailers.
Facebook has long been a phenomenon and its "groups" feature is not new. However, in my circles I see groups growing as a means of trading information and ideas. Requests and referrals. Comments, complaints and even compliments. The more groups, the more posts. The more time people spend on Facebook, the more they expect to find your information on Facebook.
Accordingly, to meet (many of) our members where they are, we recently created the OPRF Chamber Members group on Facebook. If you are a member, please ask to join. The group is closed to nonmembers, but posts are public. Expect topical information weekly. And by all means – post questions for other members or topics that most interest you as a local business leader in our community. It is another opportunity to network, connect and belong.