Work Your Networks to Improve Community Wellbeing

Social networks allow us to accomplish what we can’t on our own and offer great benefit to the whole community. Research shows that vibrant social networks help lower crime rates, increase public health, and reduce political corruption—among other things. As such, they provide an essential tool to improve community wellbeing.

Use your networks to effect change

There are times when we see issues of injustice or inequity in our community that we want to change. We may want to help children struggling in school or coming to school hungry, or bridge a nasty divide between diverse neighboring communities, or fight the placement of a garbage burner in our neighborhood. 

Achieving goals such as these is easier if we use our social networks to engage others. In the book, Better Together: Restoring the American Community, the author Robert Putnam tells us that the best way to involve other people is to use our friendship networks.

For example, in the "do.town" community project initiated by Blue Cross in MN, 58% of the people who participated came because of a personal connection, rather than a desire to improve their own physical health. So relationships and interpersonal connections are essential tools in effecting change.