With the deterioration of front porch hangouts, playground meet ups, and third space discussions came the birth of the Hull Happenings Facebook page. Hull, Massachusetts has a population of 10,293 (U.S. Census, 2010). The Hull Happenings, approved access only, Facebook page has 6,759 members. In terms of issues related to social capital, this page is a small town digital epitomization of good social capital building, and also social capital destruction.
The page description begins with “If its happening in Hull, Massachusetts, its a Hull Happening. This page is for members of the Hull community to share information, discuss issues, and promote local events and town businesses.” It concludes with the statement, “please remember, you don’t have to attend every argument you’re invited to.” (Hull Happenings Facebook Page, 2016). The page gets posts about everything from, “hey look at my kid playing t-ball” to a photo of dog poop on the beach with the caption “who would do this, NO DOGS ON THE BEACH”, to students sharing surveys to help with research, to information about local politics, businesses, fundraisers, and events from CBOs.
In a time where face to face interaction has tragically decreased a forum like this can be very helpful in building all 3 forms of social capital discussed in class. It can further connect people who already know each other (bonding), provide acquaintances for times of need(bridging) , and also link community members with CBOs (linking). It is also a space where people who may not have been involved in a political or development conversation, can voice their opinions and find like minded individuals. Although it is extremely non-traditional, Hull Happenings is really the largest (including more than 50% of the town), network of social capital that the community has.
Hull Happenings Facebook Page. 2016.
U.S. Census Bureau, 2010 Census. http://factfinder.census.gov/faces/nav/jsf/pages/community_facts.xhtml