It first started as a social networking website for college students, but today, elected officials and community activists are using Facebook to keep each other in the loop about borough affairs.
Early in 2010, Community Board 11 member Joanne Rubino approached then district manager John Fratta about the possibility of making a Facebook page for fellow board members and local residents to join.
By April of that year, the CB 11 Facebook page was created, and Rubino and Fratta led the way. Rubino said that over the past year, she did research to learn the proper ways to utilize Facebook for community purposes.
“When the idea was first discussed, I thought it would be a good way to keep board members and local residents aware of things going on in the community,” Rubino said. “I was aware that a lot of people were already on Facebook and very active in using it, so we felt it would be a good way to help the neighborhood and promote what the community board can provide.”
In February, Jeremy Warneke replaced Fratta as district manager after he retired. Rubino said that after Warneke came on to the board, he strongly encouraged the use of the CB 11 Facebook page as much as possible.
By May, Warneke began inviting people on Facebook to join the group and began posting photos, community activities and events, local newspaper articles, and news clips from major news networks that involved the neighborhoods of CB 11.
As of September, the Facebook group consists of 183 members, but Warneke said the board hopes to get as many people as possible to follow.
“There’s a power to Facebook that people don’t acknowledge. All you have to do is look at its evolution over the years,” Warneke said. “It’s an excellent form of communication for many, and we want to rebuild our community through it. It’s a good way to get people involved in the community, who normally are not involved.”
Councilman Jimmy Vacca has been on Facebook for over two years. Although it is now common for elected officials to use the social network, Vacca enjoys personally posting messages and responding to friends and constituents.
“I have learned a lot from people who have contacted me via Facebook. I usually log-on first thing in the morning when I wake up,” Vacca said. “Recently, it truly helped constituents during Hurricane Irene.”
The CB 11 Facebook page can be found at bxcb11@gro
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