April 28, 2016 | Caitlin Crawshaw
Connecting communitiesHow social media is bringing Calgarians together
When the Green Line is complete, it will add 40 kilometres of track to the city's 59-kilometre LRT system and link North Pointe and Seton to downtown. Eventually, it will serve 41 million passengers annually and link Calgary's neighbourhoods like never before.
As with any large development project, the City of Calgary has been consulting with the community during the design process. And to that end, they've been relying heavily on social media to get the word out.
"We've been using a number of social media channels, primarily Facebook and Twitter," said Julie Yepishina-Geller, Green Line communications co-ordinator for the City.
Earlier this year, the City added paid social media to its strategy so it could communicate to a wider public, including people who aren't already engaging with City events and initiatives online. The strategy appears to be working, as evidenced by the younger demographic now coming out to information sessions, said Yepishina-Geller.
"One of the most important things about the Green Line is that it isn't just a transit project. It's definitely a community shaping project, too."
But social media isn't just helping get Calgarians involved in the planning process — it's bringing people and neighbourhoods together around the project.
"One of the most important things about the Green Line is that it isn't just a transit project. It's definitely a community shaping project, too," said Yepishina-Geller.
"The fact that it's 40 kilometres long and spans the entire city is really going to change how people move and live in Calgary."
Social media is also a community-building tool for many community associations in Calgary. Federation of Calgary Communities executive director Leslie Evans said more than half of its 150 members maintain social media accounts.
Although associations were initially slow to embrace social media, "in the last year, it has blossomed," she said. Twitter has become especially popular, likely because of its ease of use and its "polls" feature, which allows community associations to ask followers for feedback on certain issues.
In the last year, Instagram has also caught on as a way for associations to share photos of community events (i.e. farmer's markets) and amenities (i.e. ice rinks and community gardens).
Using these channels, associations are able to share a wide range of information relevant to their specific community — everything from association membership sales to crime reports from police, said Evans.
But she also stresses social media's benefits go beyond the dissemination of information. It also provides opportunities for more associations to connect with one another, not just with their own residents, to collaborate on mutually beneficial projects or events.
"I think there's more opportunity for partnership and sharing ideas," said Evans.
Looking to connect with your community on social media? Find your community below to locate its respective Twitter handle.
Beddington Heights @BeddingtonCA
Country Hills @NorthernHills
Country Hills Village @NorthernHills
Coventry Hills @NorthernHills
Harvest Hills @NorthernHills
Hidden Valley @HVCAHiddenhut
MacEwan Glen @macsnd
Panorama Hills @NorthernHills
Sage Hill @SageHillYYC
Sandstone Valley @macsnd
Arbour Lake @arbourlakeyyc
Rocky Ridge @RRROCA1
Royal Oak @RRROCA1
Scenic Acres @scenicacresca
Silver Springs @SSCACalgary
University District @UHCACalgary
University Heights @UHCACalgary
University of Calgary @UCalgary
Mayland Heights @CrossroadsComm
Monterey Park @MontereyParkYYC
Saddle Ridge @MYSRCA
Vista Heights @CrossroadsComm
Banff Trail @BanffTrailYYC
Beltline @yycbeltline, @beltline_pres
Capitol Hill @CapitolHillCA
Cliff Bungalow @CBM_CA
Crescent Heights @chcayyc
Downtown Comm. Core @downtowncalgary
East Village @EastVillageYYC, @yycEVNA
Eau Claire @eauclaireca
Elbow Park @ElbowPark
Garrison Woods @YYCMardaLoop
Highland Park @HighlandPkCA
Hounsfield Heights/Briar Hill @hhbhca
Inglewood @icacalgary, @InglewoodYYC
Meadowland Park @meadowlarkpark
Mount Pleasant @MountPleasantCA
South Calgary @southcalgary
Tuxedo Park @TuxedoParkYYC
West Hillhurst @WestHillhurstCA
Windsor Heights/Mountainview @winstonheights
Applewood Park @ApplewoodPark
Forest Lawn @ForestLawnYYC
Garrison Green @NGPCA
Currie Barracks @CurrieLife
Cougar Ridge @WSCRCA
Discover Ridge @discovery_ridge
North Glenmore Park @NGPCA
Spruce Cliff @sprucecliffyyc
West Springs @WSCRCA
Auburn Bay @AuburnBayRA
McKenzie Lake @mlca2
McKenzie Towne @MTCouncil
New Brighton @NBrightonCA
Deer Ridge @DeerRidgeCA
Deer Run @DeerRunCalgary
Lake Bonavista @LakeBonavistaCA
Maple Ridge @WillowRidgeYYC
Pump Hill @PBPCommunity
Willow Park @WillowRidgeYYC