Ten thousand likes could well be the name of an indie band that you probably never heard of.
Instead, it is the current level of social media validation which the Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/horsham.uk has reached, or more correctly 10,013 likes at the time of writing.
What this means in terms of recognition or practical value is something which various search engine and social media shysters can debate endlessly.
The Facebook ‘like’ mechanism is in itself a fickle measurement representing a passing opinion of one or many Facebook users; but it is not a reflection of the actual day-to-day usage for that page I would imagine the daily figure to be closer to 3,000 visitors.
How well can it be said to represent Horsham District or its community? Is it a valid or recognised body in terms of decision making in Horsham today? It is not. This is is both its greatest strength and its weakness.
The page continues to tread a fine line between the sentiments of an echo chamber, constantly reinforcing views it has heard before, and an open forum for new suggestions and social change.
It is managed with a gentle touch of moderation that many other online community administrators would love to see implemented in their own forums.
Ten thousand likes compared to the size of Horsham, 129,000 residents according to West Sussex Government LEA Horsham spatial area fact sheet, may seem inconsequential but when you factor in the quality of contributors’ communications to the page and the level of social awareness given by those comments you begin to wonder why you don’t see more contributions from local government or the press.
This is not to say efforts are not being made ‘to be where the crowds are’ and to step into the conversations rather than try to drag them away to other websites or surgeries. At ten thousand likes there is a feeling that the page should be celebrated with a chance for a Facebook meet up of local proportions. To more appropriately reflect the contributions and contributors and their desires for Horsham and its district.
What it will be, what it will mean, what it will cost and what permissions will be required are as yet undecided. The only way to be sure is by being involved; with luck this will be something that everyone in Horsham will ‘like’.