Which of these communities would you most like to join?
1. An online community for local residents to participate in the public consultation process and have their say on everything from planning permission, budget allocation and
2. An exclusive online community for local residents to prove their knowledge and share top tips on which local services to trust, best places to eat/shop and trade goods.
3. An exclusive online community to learn the latest gossip about your neighbours and discover who’s hot or not in your local community.
Most councils/local government authorities will say the first.
Most residents say the second option works best.
Most people would actually join the gossip community.
You can treat this as a dismal reflection of modern society or as a great opportunity. Increasingly I suspect the key to developing a successful local community (or any community) is to begin with the gossip, move on to offer value and then aim for engagement on matters that affect the entire community.