Blog Post 3: Technology for Community

After spending simply one day in South Madison at the Celebrate South Madison festival, I had so many thoughts and ideas running through my head. I plan on spending more time in that area to help spark ideas about what we can do in the future to form a bridging connection in that area.

At this festival, there were not many food vendors, and especially not the ethnic food vendors we plan on working with throughout this course. The food vendors included Pizza Hut, JD’s, Famous Dave’s, and one stand from the South Madison farmers market. I was pretty disappointed by this turnout, and hopefully we will be able to get in touch with the ethnic food vendors for future events. Our class needs to start going out to these restaurants and form relationships with the owners and customers to get them more involved in the community. Also, if we promote the restaurants and give directions on our website, it will be more accessible to get to. We need to emphasize that these restaurants are not expensive, which will definitely give people more of an initiative to try them out.

Many of the residents I spoke with made it very clear that they did not have high enough incomes to go out to eat, but if we explained that these restaurants are not expensive maybe they will give them a try. The people I spoke to about their lack of food and wealth also said they were not active on social media. They explained that they either don’t have access to these technologies or they do not know how to use them. We can post on social media daily, but if the residents do not know how to use social media it defeats our purposes. If we established a workshop to help these people understand how to use social media and also notify them of the public resources that are available, that would be one of the first steps to get people involved. Since many of these people do not know how to use social media and are not following our website because of this disadvantage, we should directly and physically go to them to assist them, because if we simply advertise our events and activities on social media many people will not be notified. Many of the residents in South Madison are economically underdeveloped and ethnically diverse. We need to continue brainstorming to help get these people into a bridging community, and part of this can be by establishing them on social media.

I think it is great that there are many organizations and groups trying to assist in the forming of a community in South Madison. Our class should definitely speak with the different groups and see how we all can work together to create an event or workshop for the residents of South Madison. If we can work together with other organizations, it can prove to the people of South Madison that they can bridge together, too. As Miller explains in Chapter One of The nonprofit marketing guide, nobody wants to feel like someone, especially a charity or group of people, is trying to trick or cheat them. There have been so many initiatives to try and “help” the people in South Madison, and I hope they do not feel like guinea pigs part of a new experiment. We need to offer opportunities and have constant back-and-forth dialogues with residents over time. Miller also explains that non-profits fail when the audience is poorly defined because of a generic message. We need to figure out exactly what our main goal is and how we want our efforts to be shown by the end of this course. If we combine our efforts with other organizations, it might not seem like we are all trying to “help” the people in this area. It will seem like we are all combining our efforts to form and bridge a better community.

Our guest speaker from the South Metropolitan Planning Council, Sheri, seems passionate and knowledgeable about the efforts to bring together this community. She talked about how they have been partnering up with other organizations, such as the Wisconsin Women Business Initiative Corporation to help encourage women to open up their own businesses. She explained how the SMPC really takes the community members’ ideas into consideration, which I really appreciate. It shows how they are truly striving to better the community. She also mentioned that they are trying to form a presence on social media and have been developing their Facebook page. With the use of Facebook comes the need for media literate community members. We should help with these. With the use of Facebook comes the need for media literate community members. We should help with these media literacy opportunities in the South Madison area by helping to create a social media workshop that targets community organizers. After these people are comfortable using social media, they will hopefully allow children to use social media. If we continue using social media in a positive way and show the positive outcomes of social media techniques, the community will be able to increase their knowledge. Rather than having children become introduced to negative and dangerous forms of media on their own, we can show them the positive ways to use social media. At the festival I noticed that the people were very family-oriented and many people talked to me about their children. It is important that we incorporate the safety of their children using social media into any workshop. On our website we should continually post events, articles, and many pictures of food. Our website should serve as a gathering place to bring people to South Madison and start a bridging community.

south madison



One Comment on “Blog Post 3: Technology for Community”

  1. Eddy C. says:

    I also noticed the overt absence of the many restaurants that serve not only as a gateway to global cuisines, but as community ambassadors for the neighboring communities across the Madison-area.

    I think that one of the largest problems is a lack of resources. For many restaurant owners I expect that it would be difficult to send your only cook to an event attended by so few people. Yet,the fact that this might be the problem also give me hope. If we would be able to better equip both business owners, community members and community activists with ways to spread news about events like this then we can greatly impact the level of participation.

    I think that, like you mention, instead of independently working we partner with the already existing organizations we can better build bridges that survive well into the future.

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