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Facebook-new tool for Bx. communities

Bronx Times

Bronx community boards have entered the 21st century, with Board 11 at the head of the pack.

Facebook, which started out as a social networking website for college students, has become the go-to form of mass communication for elected officials and community activists.

Community Board 11, which covers Morris Park, Allerton and surrounding areas, created its Facebook page in April 2010 after member Joanne Rubino approached then distric manager John Fratta with the idea.

Over the next year Rubino researched the proper way to utilize Facebook for community purposes, with hopes the page would gain more popularity.

And that, it did.

In just two years, the number of members on the Board 11 page has jumped from 183 to 766 members.

“We started in 2010 with just a few small numbers and it took about a year to get off the ground,” Rubino said. “It’s growing all the time. It started off as a way to highlight our community and what we do, but it’s become a sort of community bulletin board.”

The page has also been used as a model for off-shoot pages created by community members in other board districts such as Friends of Community Board 10 in the east Bronx with 509 current members and Concerned Citizens of Community Board 9 in Soundview with 263 current members.

“We seem to have inspired other groups to have their own pages,” Rubino said “They’re not offical like ours, but they are run by private citizens and they do a great job.”

The boards also have official NYC.gov pages run by board staffers. Boards 9 and 10 do not have official Facebook pages, while Board 11 does.

Rubino said Board 11’s page is updated at least once a day.

“It’s become a kind of online community,” she said. “It’s really cool.”

After Jeremy Warneke replaced Fratta as district manager, he began strongly advocating the of the CB 11 Facebook page.

Warneke gained popularity with the community by inviting people on Facebook to join the group, posting photos, community activities and events, local newspaper articles, and news clips from major news networks that involved the neighborhoods of CB 11.

Warneke also added links from the community board page, where users can find names of all of the board members past and present as well as the different committees that make up the board and lists of all of their members.

The CB 11 Facebook page can be found at bxcb11@groups.facebook.com.

Kirsten Sanchez can be reach via e-mail at ksanchez@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 742-3394

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CNG: Community Newspaper Group