The social networking site Neighbors for Neighbors provides individual networks for each neighborhood in Boston. The idea is to improve civic engagement in each community as well as increase visibility of social service resources. In my research, I will focus on two of the neighborhoods, look at how the sites are being used, and ask some of the users about their experience on the site. From there I will explore the concept of community based social networking through the lens of community informatics to learn more about the benchmarks for a successful network. I will also use the field of community informatics as a point of departure for learning about other such networks and their successes and challenges.
From this research I hope to get an idea of the what design and implementation methods have led to improved civic engagement and visibility of resources. I would also like to get an idea of how people see these networks as supplementing local government services.