I love spaces like this one, at Francis Food Mart. All manner of people and organizations have tacked up notices about services, programs, beloved lost pets, blood drives, and festivals. Some of the notes are professionally designed and others were cut & pasted together in someone’s basement office. If you took a few minutes to stand here and read all the notices, you’d learn something about the life of the town, the concerns and skills of the people, and you might even be spurred to act.
But here’s the thing: You probably won’t take a few minutes to stand there. Very few people will. One of the notices still taped to the window here is for a program we ran at our church back in July. We put up lots of notices around Watertown, but in the end, everyone who actually attended came because they had been personally invited by someone they knew. No one saw a sign & responded.
I’ve read a lot about the changing media landscape, and in my days at MIT, I organized programs about it, featuring various experts on the topic. Certainly every organization in the country that is trying to sell, recruit, promote, or gain notice is thinking about how to do that well. It interests me spiritually, because it raises questions about how we communicate values, build relationships, and experience trust.
How and where does information get communicated in Watertown? Is there a “downtown” for sharing opportunities, resources, and needs (“Have you seen my cat?”)? If I want to invite you to our church yard sale, should I tweet you? Call you? Knock on your door? Tell you my personal narrative about the power of yard sales to transform lives? Or make a hotlink here so you can read about it?