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Secret Federal Way: More than 3,000 join Facebook group's local conversation
Shhhhh! There's a secret on Facebook — a Secret Federal Way, that is.
And like any good secret, it's spreading like wildfire. The page has attracted more than 3,000 people who "like" it.
The page already surpassed the expectations of its creators, Casey Hills and Daniel Dudley.
When the Decatur High School grads started the Facebook page, after seeing pages for other cities like Tacoma and Seattle, they never expected it to become so popular.
"We didn't think it would attract as many as it did," Hills said. "It was almost tongue in cheek, bringing up things that only Federal Way people would know about, and it kinda went from there."
The pair started the page in February, with hopes that neighbors and natives could talk about all the changes in Federal Way over the years.
"We thought to pay it forward," Dudley said. "It's such a unique place to grow up, just the amount of changes from what it was and what it became. Being proud of it, I think there's a lot of that."
Hills and Dudley spur discussion on the site by posting questions, comments or photos. Many times they get multiple responses. A recent posting of pictures from the BPA trail, for example, received 17 comments on the album within two days.
In another post, Secret Federal Way asked about the best place in Federal Way for authentic ethnic food. The post brought in almost 60 comments.
By and large, most of the postings now come from people who are Federal Way residents, either past or present, commenting on favorite spots, a good place for food, or memories of their days in Federal Way.
It's also become a place to learn about Federal Way.
"I like the reminiscing," Dudley said. "Learning about the history, hearing about how the SeaTac mall was a large horse field."
Both men have their favorite aspects on the page. For Hills, it's seeing people his parents age posting about how things were back in the 1950s and 1960s. For Dudley, it's seeing the different demographics of the "likers" — those Facebook users who check the "like" option. It's a varied mix, with about 45 percent male, and a range of ages.
"It's not just felt by an older or younger generation," Dudley said. "That was the surprising part."
It does take work to run the page. Dudley and Hills both moderate the page, cleaning up some comments that aren't constructive, as well as keeping their eyes and ears open for items to post.
They also have begun thinking about the page's future. One idea is to maybe bring in different sites, like Four Square, so users can get points for visiting different locations in Federal Way. Another idea is to partner with businesses and get discounts for Secret Federal Way likers.
For now, it's all about promoting the city where Hills and Dudley grew up.
"We're really happy to continue and build community," Hills said. "To talk about all the really positive things in Federal Way. Outside of Federal Way, people have a negative opinion of what life is like in Federal Way, but there's so many really cool things about it."
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