Local and Social: How Leslie Knope Rallies for Community Change

Aside from having incredible writing and perfectly timed jokes, Parks and Recreation is a dynamite program. Leslie Knope (Amy Poehler) leads the Park and Recreation department of Pawnee, Indiana under the direction of Ron Swanson (Nick Offerman) and their assorted cast of colorful characters.

Knope is full of energy and exuberance for her work, attempting to share her enthusiasm with her team. She is a lifelong native of Pawnee and wants to keep her small-town as lovely as ever. As all great leaders know, however, they need a strong team that is willing to go along with her visions…and shenanigans. Living in Pawnee her entire life, Ms. Knope has performed her civic duties with great conviction, always looking to how she help her community first and foremost.

What can we as social media minds learn from the Parks and Rec leader?

Share the Wealth

The character of Ms. Knope understands full well that no woman is an island. Whenever she is in need, Leslie always knows that her team has her back, no matter how crazy the idea or adventure may be. With the trust and respect of her colleagues and co-workers, Knope is forever willing to go to bat for anyone that has been on her team or has performed a task admirably. The value and contributions of her team outweigh the personal adulation. She loves winning awards but she certainly loves her friends more than plaques…maybe.

Go Big or Go Home

Leslie Knope has a flair for the dramatic. It’s not as well refined as Tom Haverford’s (Aziz Ansari) or Donna Meagle’s (Retta), but it’s certainly there. In the Season 3 finale, Leslie and the Parks Department remembers a miniature horse that was a Pawnee hero. Lil’ Sebastian’s life was honored in large public vigil, featuring live music, dedications, and explosions. Leslie’s love for Lil’ Sebastian was held back at different points, however her dream of creating a lasting final goodbye was never quashed. Dream big, you can always scale back.

There Are No Small Roles

“Provide a service for people”

– Leslie Knope

The majority of us have come from small towns with the idea of making big things happen in the big city. Similar thoughts have occurred with social media and our desire to maintain and monitor big-time brand communities. Leslie Knope enjoys having town hall meetings so that she can get the pulse of Pawnee- we respond to comments, issues, and anything inbetween. She places community ahead of herself in order to provide the best experience for those in her town. She is We as social media mavens are entrusted as the voice of a company in the same way Leslie is for the citizens of Pawnee, no matter the size.

Treat Others the Way You Want to be Treated

If it’s not the golden rule of life, it most certainly be the golden rule when it comes to social business. Leslie Knope does a terrific job of coaxing ideas out of her team. During Season 2, she and the Parks and Rec department are met with the challenge to redo a mural in the Town Hall. Each department member’s presentation is met with the same, ‘mine is better’ mentality. How does Leslie solve this debate? She melds all of their ideas into one, unified, and ugly mess. The point of pride is that Leslie moved beyond what would win and instead focused on what was best for her crew. They could be proud of their mess together, knowing they all tried their best.

How else can small town heroes be looked towards for community guidance?
Is Parks and Recreation the funniest network show?
Are there any similarities I’ve missed?

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  • Megan

    Leslie Knope has an exquisite talent for multi-tasking, which is essential for anyone in social media. With so many things happening more quickly now with the help of technology, it takes quite the multi-tasker to oversee and control the reigns. I love the whole cast on Parks and Recreation because they and Leslie really do come together so that Leslie isn’t the only one taking the burden of so many tasks. I’m eager to see the crew back this Thursday since the show took several weeks off. Since the last episode, I learned about the Hopper, DISH’s whole-home HD DVR, since I work for them and I’ve ordered my own. Its PrimeTime Anytime feature will record up to six things at the same time so I can record Parks and Recreation while my kids and husband can still watch whatever they want. I know Leslie Knope is strictly fictional, but I love her and she really is a great inspiration, thanks for the reminder!

  • Megan

    @ Jonathan

    That’s a tough one, because all of the characters have
    evolved since Parks and Recreation started. Leslie, Andy and Ron are consistently
    at the top of my list, but this season, I’ve really taken a liking to Ben. I
    think as Ben and Leslie’s romance continues he’ll definitely rank higher in my

  • http://twitter.com/jwsteiert Jonathan W. Steiert

    Yes, Megan, Ben Wyatt’s character has been interesting since it certainly went away from the usual character that Adam Scott plays. Ron Swanson might possibly be my favorite character ever. However, who doesn’t love the antics of Aziz Ansari’s Tom Haverford or Chris Pratt’s Andy Dwyer? Thanks for you comments :) !

  • Kev

     Did you catch the season finale? It made me so happy and so sad (I won’t say why just in case you haven’t watched it yet)! You make a great point that all of Leslie’s friends really come together for her even though she sometimes seems more adequate for certain tasks than are her friends. I feel like a kindred spirit since I too work for Dish, and I use the PrimeTime Anytime feature on my Hopper quite often. I was even able to use the new Auto Hop feature on Parks & Rec’s season finale since it’s one of my PrimeTime Anytime recordings. I was able to choose to watch it without commercial interruption, and I loved that I didn’t nearly die from the anticipation of the poll results!

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