Second, social media can be an important marketing strategy for rural communities. I have to come clean in admitting that I entered the conference with strong convictions on the subject. But it was refreshing to hear from Kelly Fuller of Plains Justice who told a story of how she chose Vermillion, SD as the home for her non-profit work in part because she connected with people of similar interests and values in Vermillion who she found through a blog. Through these connections, she and other staff members felt they had received a more authentic view of the community than if they had relied solely on community-based websites for their decision making [Mike Knutson, "5 Things I Learned at the Midwest Rural Assembly," Reimagine Rural, 2009.08.17].
A blog. A real blog. Not the controlled, sanitized content of a Chamber of Commerce Facebook page or a cheesy marketing page. But real residents, telling real stories, and helping visitors get a feel for the real character of a community.
That's the Madville Times has been doing for Madison and South Dakota for four years now. Chamber of Commerce, LAIC, feel free to hit the tip jar (left sidebar!) or just send a check for all the good work the Madville Times does for you.