It’s the little things that make a community feel connected. The way people take the time to say, “Good morning.” or “How are things?”. The way a stranger stops to help a bewildered newcomer to the area to find their way. The way the community members share the good and bad, fun and frustrating moments that make up the days. This is what often connects a community and in the digital age, this is what happens on Social Media.
Tricia Lyman was no stranger to the worldwide digital community and the concept of community when she started her group, “Puerto Vallarta: Everything You Need or Want to Know” on Facebook (FB). Having chronicled her and her husband Mike’s many experiences as they travelled Latin America in search of the right place for them on her blog “Lyman’s Journey“, they have been both recipient on provider of timely and excellent community assistance. On finishing their journey and finding Puerto Vallarta as their new home, Tricia was challenged by a friend from Nicaragua and from her own experience online when looking for day to day information and tips about living and thriving in Puerto Vallarta on FB. Tricia’s friend told her, “You need to start a group.” Tricia didn’t hesitate and an hour later, the well known group was born and found an immediate following from Tricia’s already active blog followers.
“I have never added a single person” Tricia mentions as we discuss the current 20,000 plus following on the group. Word of mouth, the vast quantity of useful information and the sometimes spirited discussions fuel the 75-100+ member requests that Tricia gets daily. She still reviews every profile that comes up for addition to the group to ensure that spam accounts and accounts that do not appear to be helpful to the discussion and discourse don’t clog up the news feed. Sometimes she makes the difficult decision to suspend comments or delete posts as controversy or tempers cause the threads to go awry. But somewhat like the gracious host of a house party, who offers their living room to the group to schmooze and talk but then must insist that cooler heads prevail and civility be restored when it is lacking, Tricia and her team of admins who watch when she needs to do crazy far-out thing like, sleep, walk the tightrope between allowing free speech and rightfully demanding that the group stay on topic. It is a full time job some days but, in a world where we can easily and daily see the effects of hearsay, gossip and misinformation, it is a most necessary one.
Case and point to the above, Tricia tells the story of Hurricane Patricia, which was a large catalyst in the growth of her group. She shares that her and Mike had just returned from Europe to Puerto Vallarta when the warnings of Patricia’s landfall and imminent danger for tourists and residents were being disseminated. They made the decision to stay in their home despite the calls to flee as they had just returned and in the moment, things seemed fine. What followed next was a cycle of alarm and disinformation from sources nowhere near Puerto Vallarta and the regular accurate reporting from Tricia on FB. “I’m looking out the window right now…” became a repeated phrase as regular visitors, property owners and the simply curious chimed in with questions about the dire circumstances they were hearing about in Puerto Vallarta. Tricia stuck with her reporting, advising that she may be offline due to power cuts but carrying on to find they never came. People were added in droves to her group and the spike further fuelled the word of mouth growth that continues to this day. Proof positive that the group had a purpose beyond entertainment and a function much needed in our information age.
Not that it is always easy. As mentioned, there are times when the personal slights and abuse take their toll on Tricia but she is quick to add that her patience is improving and tolerance increasing. Mike simply nods as I catch his eye after the comment and Tricia quickly adds that Mike is occasionally the sounding board for a measure of frustration here and there. Tricia fiercely abides by the group rules and standards herself (with the exception of one recent meme post – forgiven haha) and sets the bar for everyone. Subsequently the group does far more good than can be realized in a quick read and light years beyond any negativity that seeps into the mix. Her stated goals of helping people to know where to go and what to do when in Puerto Vallarta are certainly reached and the added benefits of the return of lost goods, assistance for those in difficult circumstances and the simple camaraderie of people with a common love of Puerto Vallarta make the positive benefits of the site gargantuan. One needs only to search for the similar sites that seek to imitate the helpfulness of Puerto Vallarta: Everything You Need or Want to Know in nearby communities to see the flattery in their imitation. The LURE team often asks why these types of sites are not duplicated in major centres all around the world but the answer each time is the same: they need a Tricia Lyman.
Where are the best tacos in Puerto Vallarta? How much is a taxi from the airport to….? Can I get my dog’s special medicine? Do you need to wear shoes in the beachfront restaurants? How do I stay longer than 180 days? Do I have to bring my mother-in-law on vacation? Almost all of these questions can be answered on FB in Tricia’s group. You might get a few goofy answers but you will always get some information from the great, growing community founded by a woman who knows the value of people sharing information and people sharing life.
Thanks Tricia. We at LURE have had so many of our own questions answered and try regularly to assist others in your wonderful group. Keep up the great work making Puerto Vallarta one of the best places to live!
Looking to purchase or rent a property in Puerto Vallarta or the Bay of Banderas area? Need someone to check it out for you to be sure it is what you expect and want? Enlist Tricia and Mike’s experience in your favour by hiring them to inspect your property before you sign: Puerto Vallarta Independent Property Inspections