Monthly Archives: December 2008

In case you aren’t a Twitter quitter

OK – I admit it. I don’t get Twitter except as a possible sign that the end days are upon us.  I’ve tortured it around to be useful in a couple of hypothetical situations that are totally unfeasible due to time or sensible clients’ protecting their budgets. However, in case you’re curious or have had an inspiration on how to use it, you can find clear, simple descriptions of how to make it work here and here.

Guest blogger guidelines

The Coalitionist welcomes the insights and experiences of other communicators involved in the business of creating, engaging and motivating networks and coalitions of people and groups.

If you’d like to share your expertise out of the goodness of your heart, the desire for another publication credit, or to win the admiration and envy of your colleagues, then send your contribution to

Here’s a brief set of guidelines to help you make the most of this opportunity:

  • Place your contribution in the context of creating networks and coalitions that help advance personal, professional or organizational goals.
  • Offer specific, actionable counsel, strategies or tactics.
  • Keep it short and focused – ideally less than 250 words. Longer pieces will be used, however, based on the author, subject matter and entertainment value.
  • Have a point of view, and don’t be afraid to be entertaining, irreverent or cranky.
  • Use AP style.
  • Include a one- or two-sentence description of your bona fides for inclusion in your guest blog to help inform readers who may not know you personally.

That’s all it takes.  We’re all looking forward to learning from what you have to say.

Do you win control – by losing control – of the conversation?

Consumers trust each other more than they do the various organizations that turn the communications firehose on them every day, according to a recent Wall Street Journal article.

The piece, about Web 2.0 marketing, has an important implication for public involvement, community relations and other coalition- and network-building professionals.

One potential remedy for the persistent and often widespread mistrust of government and other large organizations may be to unchain (let alone allow) full public discussion of motives, actions and results on those organizations’ own blogs and websites.

The vast majority of such official sites do not allow public comment (except in narrow, heavily moderated instances), outbound links to special interest group sites or other mechanisms that promote unfettered dialog. The fear is that doing so will expose people to “crazies” who will muddle the discussion with erroneous information about public policy, large-scale projects or other initiatives.

Such fears may be beside the point.  No highway project, for example, was a great success because people were able to accurately cite the basic facts about it.  Such projects are a success when people are confident that the sponsoring agency is truthful and trustworthy.

How does a non-technical stakeholder make that assessment?  By personal experience with the agency.  By witnessing how – and how effectively – the agency responds to the questions and criticisms of others.  And by evaluating how others assess the performance of that agency.

These avenues to to trust, confidence and support, however, are blocked by a non-existent or highly controlled Web 2.0 dialog between large organizations and their stakeholder.  In fact, such a dialog may force stakeholders to detour into information exchanges with the very “crazies” that policy makers fear most.

On the other hand, the fastest route for winning stakeholder confidence may simply be to throw open completely the conversation mechanisms you control. Doing so will be scary and uncomfortable at times; that’s guaranteed. 

But empowering stakeholders to air any question or concern, no matter how unlikely or unreasonable, provides you and your organization a continuous showcase for proving that you are open, honest and constituent focused.  And in the end, the result will be that those whose support you need most, the broad middle of the spectrum interested in the right decision above all else, will trust you to make that decision even if they don’t understand every technical detail.

LinkedIn tips and tricks

You’ve been on LinkedIn a few months now. You’re steadily growing your network and getting more comfortable with the whole system, thanks to talking with friends and reading the site’s own users guide. But now you suspect the platform has far more potential for helping you build personal and professional networks and coalitions – if only you could find the definitive LinkedIn guide.

Well … such a creature may not exist. But here are some links that help you become a power LinkedIn user:

Tracking your Web 2.0 results

Measuring results is always a challenge, even more so it seems when electronic outreach is thrown into the mix. However, in recent years a wide range of analytical tools have emerged on the Internet to make your life easier.  A quick list of those tools can be found in this LinkedIn Q&A.

The Coalitionist manifesto

All the simple problems have long since been solved.  

Now we have to deal with the personally, professionally, culturally, politically and all the other complex “lee” challenges that no one person or group can solve.  And in that kind of environment, the person most likely to succeed is the person who can effectively identify, engage and motivate people and organizations to band together, share resources and stay focused on meeting a common challenge.

That’s the theory, anyway, behind The Coalitionist. It’s intended to be a useful and sometimes irreverent soapbox for communicators, public involvement professionals and the occasional crackpot to share ideas, insights and tools for creating networks and coalitions united behind achieving common goals.