PlanPhilly

City's own social network allows residents to connect through common causes [video]



Parkwood resident Marge Philippi collects bandit signs from poles. Since 2006, she said at last night's civic association meeting, she's collected 8,000 of the illegal signs that say things like, we buy houses.

Fox Chase Town Watch does the same.

But do the two neighborhoods -- a world away and a Boulevard apart -- know about each others' efforts? Could they work together.

The city hopes its new social network, Change By Us, can help bring residents from all over Philadelphia together by uniting them through similar issues and common causes.

Philadelphia is the second city in the country (New York was the first) to get its own social network through Code for America.

The site isn't meant to replace Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn, says Jeff Friedman, who, through his technology and innovation role with the city, explained Change By Us to Parkwood Civic Association members last night.



Rather, Change By Us is a Philly-exclusive social networking site where residents can go to start, join and share causes.

If you're looking to bring a dog park to Crestmont Farms, for example, you can start the cause on the site and other dog park projects around the city will be brought to your attention. Maybe someone else in your neighborhood wants a dog park, too. Or maybe someone in Powelton Village in West Philadelphia is doing the same and help you go through the proper channels with the city.

Similar to other social networks, Change By Us allows users to select the "resources" they want to follow. Parkwood Civic Association, for instance, could create an account, and its members could be alerted to the group's activities.

The site still in beta mode, meaning various aspects of it could change, depending on how the city and the users decide is the best way to get the most out of the network.


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