Facebook comes to the South West

Community Boost is a new Facebook program which brings digital education and support to regional communities through workshops.
Community Boost is a new Facebook program which brings digital education and support to regional communities through workshops.

From June 19, Facebook will be bringing workshops to the South West in an effort to boost communities across Australia. 

Community Boost is a new Facebook program which brings digital education and support to regional communities through workshops.

The program started in late 2017 by Facebook chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg and was implemented in Mackay, Queensland as the first regional location in February this year.

Australia and New Zealand Facebook Director of Policy Mia Garlick said they have worked hard to ensure the South West program was improved and tweaked from feedback given by participants at the Mackay workshop. 

“What we are doing with this is to really bring it all together, rather than just going and doing half a day engagement with different groups we are trying to double down and bring everything together all at once, by creating a pop up shop in a central town and then going out to regional towns,” she said. 

The South West will be the second regional location chosen for their program and will have one day sessions in Collie, Busselton and Margaret River.

There will also be a four day workshop in Bunbury, followed by the STEAM festival happening on June 23. 

The STEAM festival is a science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics festival encourages people to be inspired about what their future careers could be and ways technology can enable and support that. 

Mrs Garlick said their would be a variety of workshops for different people in the community.

“We are really trying to touch all different parts of the community through the engagement over the course of the week. Our hope is that the benefits they get are feeling confident to ask any question they want, for some it’s parents, how they should be having a conversation with their child and how they stay safe and what apps they’re using,” she said.

“For some people it’s just trying to understand what is this thing called Facebook and Instagram and how do I use it effectively? Other people are just like well I have this advertisement and I promoted it and I got this amount of reach and that many clicks, what does that mean for me and how do I do that more effectively?”

She said local businesses could benefit from the workshops with one on one expert coaching available for all attendees.

“We want to make sure that local business owners can make sure how to use our platforms to compliment their shop or other strategies that they might have to engage with customers,” Mrs Garlick said.

Over half of small to medium businesses in Australia have a Facebook page and that will only increase in the next five years, according to PwC. 

The growth of small to medium businesses from their use of Facebook led to the employment of 120,000 employees and 29 per cent in regional Australia in 2017. 

Facebook is also partnering up with Project RockIt which is a youth driven movement against bullying.​

Project RockIt co-founder Lucy Thomas said her and her sister saw there was a gap about bullying and cyber-bullying being addressed and so they wanted to do it in a more positive way.  

“Pretty much we send off people into schools to tackle bullying and empower them with credible and positive strategies for the online world, for us being youth driven we recognise that youth love social media and technology and we want to celebrate the best parts of the online world. We look at how we can use technology for good, rather than focusing on this idea that it’s some kind of weapon,” she said. 

“We teamed up with Facebook because they’ve recongised the importance of building connections in really big regional areas where technology can actually be used to create community support for young people who might be a bit isolated.”

For more information or to register for any of the events in your area go to http://www.fbcommunityboost.com.au/

This story Facebook comes to the South West first appeared on Collie Mail.