Monthly Archives: August 2009

Online polling plays special role for coalitions

Ken DeSieghardt is one of the best strategists I know when it comes to understanding how to pull together people into coalitions and motivate them to action. 

For example, his firm, Patron Insight, is very successful in identifying, communicating with and moving to the polls those taxpayers who are most likely to support bond issues backed by school districts and municipal government.

Ken and his partner, Rick Nobles,  see a special role in online polling and surveying when it comes to existing or coalescing coalitions. They share it here:

“Online research deserves a spot in the researcher’s tool bag. But, like any tool, you have to know how, when and where to use it if the information you collect is going to be of value.

Specifically, online research provides the most helpful, credible information when it is disseminated as a secondary tool to a captive audience whose members care about the subject matter.

Note the key words in that last statement.

Disseminated: Don’t just stick a survey on your Web site and wait for the responses to roll in. Send the link to people who you want to hear from.

Secondary tool to a captive audience: Online research should never be considered primary data, because those who participate choose to do so – meaning they are already connected to a cause or an issue. It’s ideal for gathering data and seeking input from a coalition of advocates who are already in place (either formally or informally), but should never be confused for primary research of the masses to determine the general mood of the citizenry.

Care about the subject matter: Online surveys work when someone who receives it thinks, “If I respond to this, something that matters to me might change in a way that I like (or might stay the same, if that’s what I’d prefer).”

It’s also important to put a time limit on when you will accept responses, to nudge your target audience about halfway through with a message that says, “If you’ve responded, thanks; if not please do,” and to use the feature on the programs that allows you to limit responses to one per computer.

If you follow this recipe (and, of course, have a well-constructed survey instrument), you’ll get back information that clues you in to the thoughts and ideas of those in your key target audience who took the time to respond.

Like all research, it should be seen as one piece of data in the decision-making process. But, at least you can be confident that what you received was credible.”

Visualizations help stakeholders understand complex issues

Seeing is believing.

A picture is worth a thousand words.

All true when it comes to helping stakeholders and potential coalition members, allies and partners understand the importance of a complex issue.

Here’s a good example.  As the Missouri Dept. of Transportation wrestles with how to rejuvenate Interstate 70, it found that its efforts to keep traffic moving smoothly on America’s Main Street complicated its communication about the dire state of the highway. 

Specifically, resurfacing in recent years had smoothed the ride enough to hide the structural issues underlying the highway – and perhaps mute public interest in fixing the long-term problems with the Interstate. 

So MoDOT developed a clever simulation that enables stakeholders to see how pavement begins decaying almost as soon as it is poured and, more importantly, how there are limits to how many times you can replace existing pavement.

They made an interesting – and thoroughly understandable – visual that helps their audiences get a better grip on an important technical issue:

Rick Astley & Nine Inch Nails: Proof that even unlikely allies can make beautiful music

Rick Astley & Nine Inch Nails: Proof that even unlikely allies can make beautiful music together.

Is there a place for social profile screening in coalition building?

Mashable: 45% of Employers Now Screen Social Media Profiles:

Nearly 1 in 2 companies are doing their online due diligence for prospective job candidates, according to research firm Harris Interactive.

HI was “commissioned by and surveyed 2,667 HR professionals, finding that 45% of them use social networking sites to research job candidates, with an additional 11% planning to implement social media screening in the very near future.

According to the study, ‘thirty-five percent of employers reported they have found content on social networking sites that caused them not to hire the candidate.’ The big lessons you can learn are quite obvious, but bear repeating. Provocative photos and info are a bad idea (53% of employers won’t hire you), shared content with booze and drugs is also highly dangerous (44% dismissed candidates for this reason), and bad-mouthing former employers is very risky behavior (35% reported this as the main reason they didn’t hire a candidate).”

(This might be a good time to see if you pass the social media recruitment test.)

The interesting question is whether this growing employment trend has a place for coalition building and stakeholder engagement.

Should people who want to be engaged in a community decision-making process or issue advocacy effort be vetted at even the most rudimentary level and, based on results, steered to or away from the initiative?

If you’re responsible for maximizing the value, effectiveness and/or and inclusiveness of such efforts, do you have a responsibility to try and weed out wackos, criminals or others? And if so, how do you establish the criteria for in or out?

What do you thinK?

Without Comment: 40% of Tweets Are Pointless Babble

TWITTER ANALYSIS: 40% of Tweets Are Pointless Babble: “

With Twitter being such a hot trend right now, research firms have been anxious to study how people are using the social platform, and analyze trends in aggregate view.

One such company, data analytics provider, Pear Analytics, set out to study the contents of our tweets to determine if, in fact, we’re all just sharing mindless babble, or if there was something more intellectual going on.

Their findings aren’t all that favorable to those of us with lofty views of Twitter, because as it turns out, 40.55% of tweets are pointless babble.

As somewhat of a redemption for our narcissistic oversharing ways, conversational tweets came in a very close second with 37.55%. Pass-along value — or RTs — captured third-place with only 8.7%, but, thankfully, spam only accounted for 3.75% of all tweets studied.

You can read about Pear Analytics’ research methodology in the full report (PDF download), but it appears as if they tried to capture sample data that would be reflective of the larger Twitter population.

(Via Mashable!.)

Many adults say they’re not sold on social networks

Something to consider as budget constraints and a preference for shiny spinning things puts more and more stakeholder engagement and coalition-building efforts on the Internets, thanks to USA Today:

Social-networking services such as Facebook, MySpace and Twitter may be generating lots of buzz. But old-fashioned, non-digital, face-to-face conversations aren’t out of vogue just yet.

About 87% of 1,000 adults questioned in June said they prefer to deal with other people in person instead of via computers or smartphones, according to a survey from Brightkite, a mobile social-networking service, and GfK Technology, a market research agency.

Women prefer face time 70 times more than using social networks. By contrast, men prefer it 33 times more, according to the survey.

What about tweeting on Twitter? Well, another survey shows that most people still consider that for the birds. Nearly 70% of 2,025 adults questioned in June said they didn’t know enough about Twitter to have an opinion about it, according to a LinkedIn Research Network/Harris Poll.

How To: Mashable’s Twitter Guide Book Now Available for Download

Mashable’s Twitter Guide Book Now Available for Download:

twitterguidebookWe recently launched The Twitter Guide Book, a one-stop shop for getting up to speed with everything Twitter, from managing your Twitter stream to promoting a business. Now, we’ve packaged up all of our best Twitter resources in a downloadable presentation so you can flip through all of the content in one place, and print and share it with your friends and colleagues.

Presented by Adobe Acrobat 9, sponsor of this year’s SlideShare ‘World’s Best Presentation Contest’, the Twitter Guide Book includes a special audio introduction from Mashable Founder and CEO Pete Cashmore, as well as five chapters:

1. Twitter 101: The Basics
2. Building Your Twitter Community
3. Managing Your Twitter Stream
4. Sharing on Twitter
5. Twitter for Business

Please note that Acrobat 9 or Adobe Reader 9 is required for viewing. You can download Adobe Reader for free here. We’ve included some screenshots of the Guide Book below. You can view and download Mashable’s Twitter Guide Book here.

Twitter Guide Book home

Twitter Guide Book index image

twitter 101 image

sharing on twitter image

Supported by Adobe Acrobat 9, sponsor of this year’s SlideShare ‘World’s Best Presentation Contest

world's best presentation contest logoFrom August 3 to September 14, SlideShare is hosting its second annual ‘World’s Best Presentation Contest‘. Until early September, users of the world’s largest presentation sharing site will be able to use in-browser embedded sharing and view PDF portfolios with Adobe’s sponsorship. By providing SlideShare users with the opportunity to use cutting edge creation and sharing tools, these creative and business professionals can combine and distribute multimedia presentations in a way that’s never been done before.

Reviews: Twitter

Tags: download, downloadable, mashable, twitter, twitter guide book

(Via Mashable!.)