Community and Regional Planning Program

 

Date of this Version

Spring 4-2013

Citation

Gebhart, A. N. (2013). Planning the future of Connecting Young Nebraskans: The evolution of a virtual community. (Master's professional project, University of Nebraska-Lincoln).

Comments

Presented to the Faculty of the Community & Regional Planning Program at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln for the Degree of Master of Community and Regional Planning. Professional Project Advisory Committee: Gordon Scholz, Chair; Yunwoo Nam; Kim Wilson. Lincoln, Nebraska: April, 2013

Copyright 2013, Andrea N. Gebhart

Abstract

Connecting Young Nebraskans (CYN) is a statewide network designed to connect, empower and retain young Nebraskans. Due to the geographic spread of its members, the CYN network functions as a virtual community—a group of people who primarily interact through electronic means. With CYN approaching a period of organizational transition, this project is a social and community plan for CYN. Describing the network, summarizing the key issues facing the network, and recommending strategies to minimize issues and strengthen the network, this plan addresses how CYN can evolve so as to ensure the sustainability and continued success of the network. As the basis for developing alternatives and a recommendation for CYN to move forward, this project synthesizes the findings of three independent but related endeavors. First, this project summarizes and discusses the implications of current research relevant to virtual communities, with an emphasis on the attributes and sustainability factors of virtual communities. Second, this project summarizes and discusses the implications of a recent social network analysis performed on the CYN network by an outside firm. Third, this project summarizes and discusses the implications of a two-part, virtual facilitated model building exercise that was conducted with the network’s steering committee. After completion of the three project endeavors, there was thoughtful synthesis and reflection regarding the project, complete with recommendations for the CYN network. This final document was prepared with the intent to help the current CYN network leadership explore the best alternatives and options for CYN as it moves forward.

Professional Project Advisory Committee: Gordon Scholz, Chair; Yunwoo Nam; Kim Wilson