The following article appeared in the July 27th edition of the Campbell Express
Think about your community. I'm going to guess that you have family, friends, and some neighbors in mind. You're only halfway there. Don't forget things like city services, coffee shops, pubs, restaurants, charity organizations, religious institutions, local festivals, and the charismatic businesses that form the infrastructure that your social network is built upon.
For most people, it's obvious that if there's nowhere to go, nothing to do, and no place convenient to buy things, "having a life" would be nearly impossible, but it's harder for them to imagine the reverse--that the infrastructure that sustains our community is in turn dependent upon having a community with healthy social connections. This is because the institutions that are most focused on creating a genuine and vibrant community tend to be small and lack marketing power. They rely heavily on word of mouth to survive. This includes small locally owned businesses who know their customers on a first name basis and local organizations who produce events that bring people together and build community spirit.
As a consequence of the economic boom and bust, recent years have not been good for the foundations that we use to develop that sense of community. With our social connections frayed by the exodus of old faces who were forced to move and the large scale influx of newcomers, it becomes much harder to absorb the decay in the physical qualities that makes a place feel like home to us. It also makes for a tougher recovery because there's more than one thing broken. To make matters worse, the Internet hasn't been the friend that some of us hoped it would be.
Once heralded as the great equalizer that leveled the playing field for players of all sizes, the Internet appears to have ended up concentrating more power in all things big and global But I believe that technology isn't the problem. It's the way that we're using the technology that is the problem and that's why I launched Social Wave, a community network tailor-made to serve the interests of Silicon Valley residents and locally owned businesses. By keeping the focus local, Social Wave helps us build stronger communities by creating opportunities for residents get to know other locals, businesses, and their area both online and in person.
That was over a year ago and I'm happy to say that it's starting to make a difference. If you're not familiar with Social Wave, I invite you to come find out more about it at our one-year anniversary party on July 29th, which we're hosting as part of Sundown Cinema's showing of Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. Before the movie, we'll have information tables, festivities, kids' activities, and a free raffle for you in the parking lot. Come see what Social Wave is all about and come meet some of your neighbors.
Sundown Cinema and Social Wave's Anniversary Party will be held in the parking lot between the Courtyard and Orchard Valley Coffee in Downtown Campbell. For more information about the Social Wave party, please see http://socialwave.net/party or call Sheldon Chang at 408.455.2559.