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Riverwards Online: Staying Connected in Your Community via Facebook

While it may be a little hard to find at times, there’s a lot more on Facebook than your crazy uncle posting links to dubious conspiracy websites and your friends uploading photo albums of them in places you wish you could afford to be. Facebook groups are a great way to stay engaged and connected in your community. Wherever you live in the Riverwards there’s a Facebook group out there for you.

Say you just want to keep abreast of neighborhood news, keeping an eye on the civic group meetings, having a finger on the pulse of what’s going on around your neighborhood. Joining a group like “Bridesburg, PA,” or “Northern Liberties (Philly Neighborhood)” would help you do so. Members post about community events they are promoting or merely interested in sharing, new businesses coming to the area, dates of meetings discussing controversial neighborhood topics and other items of import.

Maybe you just want to remember what the neighborhood used to be like and reconnect with those who remember it that way as well. Joining a group like “Remembering Port Richmond” or “Kensington Neighborhood Alumnae” would be a great way to do so. People often post crisp photographs of important corners and corridors of the neighborhoods, contrasting the old with new while also showing how little things have changed in some regards. Also common are amusing anecdotes about where they played as children, what their favorite games were and who theses games were played with. It’s a great way to share information about what happened to old stores, restaurants, neighborhood icons and so on.

Something that has also consistently impressed me in these groups is the ability to create connections between people who may not have lived in the neighborhood for decades. Fairly regularly, someone will post something like “My dad worked at such-and-such factory back in the ‘30s, we lived here on B Street, did anyone know him?” Nearly without fail, someone will remember that their father worked with him, that they attended school with the original poster’s older sister, and so forth. Before you know it, a whole network of individuals and families that were once connected pops up and new friendships are forged.

There are groups for the pragmatically-minded as well. In groups like “The Fishtown Blob” people post notices for large items they are selling, rooms going up for rent as well as parties and other going-ons that neighbors may be interested in attending. It’s also a good place to ask for advice about landlords and contractors in the area.

Even beyond the Riverwards, there’s a lot to be gained from Facebook groups to those who are interested in Philadelphia and its history on a larger scale. “Vintage Philadelphia” shares an incredible array of high-quality and interesting photographs from decades gone by, some of them being over a century old. “Philadelphia Stolen Bikes” forms a citizen’s network that keeps an eye out for bikes that are posted as stolen, informing the owner of recent sightings and helping them get their vehicle back. While the success rate isn’t terribly high, there are a number of stories about being being reconnected with their bicycle. It’s definitely better than hitting the streets yourself looking for it.

Facebook is undoubtedly bloated, for lack of a better time with, useless spam and garbage. However, if you’re willing to delve into some of the groups that focus on focus on neighborhoods and communities, there’s a lot to be gained there.

Trying to get involved on Facebook? Check out some of these groups: Vintage Philadelphia, Old Images of Philadelphia’s River Ward Neighborhoods, Philadelphia Stolen Bikes, Fishtown is AWESOME OLD/NEW/EVERYONE!, SAFER STREETS FOR FISHTOWN, The Fishtown Blob, Fishtown Items of Interest, KENSINGTON PRIDE, Kensington Neighborhood Alumnae, Remembering Port Richmond, Northern Liberties (Philly Neighborhood), Northern Liberties Neighbors, Bridesburg,PA, Bridesburg Information – Harassment Free Zone 🙂

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