John S Veitch, has worked for many years as a networker and enthusiast for community development on the Internet. His work with the New Zealand Dances web site (1995 - 2000) introduced him to the value of online networking and the power of cooperative online effort.
The arrival of social networking has allowed many more people to become engaged online, but for most people the Internet does still not play an important part in the life they lead. Recent research on Internet use in Christchurch (Bryndwr Group 2009), demonstrates the only about 40% of Internet users are involved in online social networks.
Quote"Many people assume from the news media that strong membership of online social networks is something that everyone has developed. This data shows an entirely different pattern. +50% of respondents were NOT in any online social network.
Only 14 people reported membership of more than one social network.
Social Networking is the key to making the Internet USEFUL to ordinary people, in contrast to scholars and researchers. Joining groups is a distinguishing behaviour many people have not understood. Active participation in group discussions increases your knowledge, helps to establish your own point of view, and over time increases your confidence and your ability to accept leadership roles." End Quote
Despite all the hype about the ease with which people use the Internet in 2010, it's not true that most people are experienced and confident Internet users. You can expect to have some difficulty getting some people to feel confident about joining your online street group.
The idea of Street Groups is an old one going back to campus and block lists, long before the Internet was widely used, and before the WWW existed.
The development of Online Groups, by Dan Randow and his team (Michael and Alice) in Christchurch provides and excellent tool for the creation of community groups.
The Canterbury Issues Forum was launched in 2007. That forum has a small membership (about 230) but it's been very influential.
The Condell Community List was created in May 2009.
The Condell Community List has become more and more established. John S Veitch, the enthusiast who made the group possible says, "We didn't know what the list would be good for in the beginning. Even now after a year we are still learning how to use it. We've gone from exchanging vegetables over the fence, to organising events in the street, and discussing issues like town planning. The list has become increasingly important. "
From May, 2010, because of an article in The Press by Charlie Gates, several new Street Groups have been formed. There is a help page about forming street groups here.
If you want to speak to Mr Veitch, you can contact him here, or phone (03) 352-8372