Ideally the unofficial mayor of a neighborhood has a dog that needs walking. They then have a habit of daily strolls during which they watch, observe, catch up with local gossip, pick up litter, attend to a little gardening and pruning, and add to their storehouse of community knowledge. And their dog is good at sniffing things out too.
I knew who one of the unofficial mayors was in my neighborhood, I'd enjoyed conversations with her, I'd picked up litter with her. Today while doing laundry, a miracle happened. The unofficial mayor visited with me, nothing really miraculous there, but another woman joined us, and I realized that I was in the presence of two unofficial mayors. I shut up and listened.
Respect the unofficial mayors and you will learn a lot about your community.