MARYVILLE, Mo. — Born out of the love of community, the #ForMaryville social media movement has grown each day offering caring connections, points of interest and a way for residents to showcase their town.
A few people at the Countryside Christian Church got together in early 2018 to create a framework for the idea from several places, but mainly a short eBook titled “#ForTheCommunity.”
Luke Johnson, a member of the church and an administrator for the #ForMaryville Facebook page, said the page launched in April 2018 and has grown ever since.
“The idea behind the movement is to show what makes our community great,” he said.
Using the hashtag on social media, whether Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, creates a solid link between members of the community, the events they care about and a way to support each other.
“I’ve personally used it when I’ve gotten good service somewhere,” Johnson said. Other examples of tagging opportunities include the Summer Concert Series, the Nodaway County Fair or any other community event he said.
“The Shop Hop is a great example,” he said. “Seeing #ForMaryville all over their feed may spur some people to get out and support local business.”
Other uses include local city government using it for citywide improvements. City Manager Greg McDanel has used the hashtag on Twitter for various reasons, one of which is the use tax, passed by voters on April 2 and recapturing revenue for the city.
Scott Copeland, owner of the Board Game Cafe, used the hashtag when the cafe was featured as a successful Downtown Maryville business in the May edition of Feast Magazine.
Even Maryville Mayor Rachael Martin has been known to use #ForMaryville, once during the St. Francis Gala earlier this year, and also while riding with city crews cleaning streets during a snow storm.
Promoting positive things happening in and around Maryville is the goal of the hashtag creators.
“There’s a lot of negative out there,” said Monte Hoskey, part of the #ForMaryville creation team. “We just wanted people to know what we’re for.”
To continue presenting the positive things occurring in the area, the group created #ForMaryville Highlights, where someone or something is featured on the Facebook page and spread around the community by use of the hashtag.
“A couple of us write those and we’ve just done people we know so far and I know we’d love to make this bigger than us and bigger than the church,” Johnson said.
Another way of getting the word out is T-shirts. He explained the shirts were ordered at the time of the Facebook page launch and have been given out. Not currently priced as a source of revenue, the group is considering how best to use them.
“#ForMaryville is simply a way to highlight the great things that happen in our community,” Johnson said. “It’s not limited to any group or type of people, or even just the church. All citizens play a part in making the community what it is and we want the positivity to be a part of our culture and mission.”