Coalitionists looking to get the word out about their endeavors abandon or minimize face-to-face community communication at their peril, according to a Pew Internet poll.
Although electronic communication continues to grow in importance, personal contact (face-to-face and phone) is three times more frequently used than Internet tools, at least in terms of neighborhood issues..
Internet writing is tough because how people use the Web is different from how they read print (here’s the classic breakdown, still a useful reminder after all these years).
Effective writing gets even harder when it comes to headlines, which play a critically important role in helping guide current and potential coalition members to the information they need and want to become and remain allies.
So here are three quick tips for writing effective Web headlines:
- Write short because people don’t read online, they scan;
- Summarize clearly the target article so people can quick evaluate the article’s value to them; and
- Maximize the use of important keywords to increase SEO, scannability and understandable out of context (because headlines often appear without articles, as in search engine results).
How frequently people share content they find on your website, blog or other electronic outreach may ultimately be the most important measure of well you’re building and maintaining your issue or action coalition.
If the people you reach out to are forwarding, Digging, Delicious-ing the content you are generating, then they’re voting with their actions that what you have to say is important because it:
- Contributes to or furthers a conversation they think matters;
- Advances their self or civic interest; and/or
- Confirms their values, beliefs or ideas.
The key, then, is to make sure that the content you’re generating is “share worthy” by concentrating on its:
- Trustworthiness – Do you take every step possible to make sure that content is accurate, complete, low on spin and authentic to the style and culture of your organization?
- Relevance – Do you know in great detail who your coalition partners are, what interests and motivates them, and do you provide them with what they need and want?
- Immediacy – Is the meaning and value of your content instantly recognizable as valuable without requiring a complicated explanation.
- Usefulness – More than ever before, content is king, especially well-written, timely and relevant news, how-tos and other material that adds value to everyday life, or at least makes it easier and more productive.
Bottom line, any time you’re posting information, ask yourself: “Will my partners and audiences use this material and, if so, how will their task/day/life go better?” If you and your content have an answer, then odds are what you have to say is “share worthy” and thus an Internet success.
As you think about whether Twitter makes sense for your next communication campaign, here are the latest Twitter usage and demographic stats:
“As of December 2008, 11% of online American adults said they used a service like Twitter or another service that allowed them to share updates about themselves or to see the updates of others,” according to a Pew Internet & American Life Report.
- Twitter and similar services have been most avidly embraced by young adults. Nearly one in five (19%) online adults ages 18 and 24 have ever used Twitter and its ilk, as have 20% of online adults 25 to 34.
- Use of these services drops off steadily after age 35 with 10% of 35 to 44 year olds and 5% of 45 to 54 year olds using Twitter. The decline is even more stark among older internet users; 4% of 55-64 year olds and 2% of those 65 and older use Twitter.
- The use of Twitter is highly intertwined with the use of other social media; both blogging and social network use increase the likelihood than an individual also uses Twitter.
- Twitter users and status updaters are also a mobile bunch; as a group they are much more likely to be using wireless technologies — laptops, handhelds and cell phones — for internet access, or cell phones for text messaging.
Overall, Twitter users engage with news and own technology at the same rates as other internet users, but the ways in which they use the technology — to communicate, gather and share information — reveals their affinity for mobile, untethered and social opportunities for interaction.
View PDF of Report
Here you go – http://juliansmithproductions.wordpress.com/2009/02/13/25-things-i-hate-about-facebook/ – just because I’m dragging my heels about Facebook over privacy concerns (an ongoing problem that is a multi-faceted issue) and the continuous headache that is social media inundation.
And now there’s this:
The official White House site used to rely on YouTube for video hosting, but now they’ve apparently switched to a generic video player, delivered by Akamai’s content delivery network.
…”[T]oday the New York Time reports that the White House did not give up on YouTube
; they were merely “experimenting” with a new video player. As White House spokesman Nick Shapiro put it: “As the president continues his goal of making government more accessible and transparent, this week we tested a new way of presenting the president’s weekly address by using a player developed in-house. This decision is more about better understanding our internal capabilities than it is a position on third-party solutions or a policy. The weekly address was also published in third-party video hosting communities and we will likely continue to embed videos from these services on WhiteHouse.gov in the future.”
Chris Soghoian, who did a good job researching the subject the first time, still maintains his position: that the White House shunned YouTube because of privacy concerns.
As we try to muster an informed, engaged group of groups and individuals in developing successful projects or policies (let alone manage the whole effort), isn’t it time that we delete all email?
There’s a real case to be made that blogs are a far superior tool for administering, managing, cajoling and empowering any group of people united in pursuit of a common goal because they:
- Highlight truly engaged, productive participants by shifting communication and education responsibilities to individual members.
- Give equal and open access to all available information, feedback and decision documentation.
- Provide a permanent, easily searchable archive of every topic relating to the project.
- Organize content chronologically (posts and comments) so there is no uncertain about what is the latest and greatest information or decision.
- Can force project to individuals’ top priority by having them set the blog as their browsers‘ home page.
- Eliminate lost messages by cutting email clutter and avoiding spam filter hang-ups.
- Heighten urgency and sensitivity of information that is conveyed by email when email is only used to communicate politically sensitive information to “need-to-know” individuals.
Bottom line, using a blog can provide a great opportunity for introducing openness and efficiency into an organization and a project when used properly.
I stumbled across a recent account from the communications staff at Missouri University of Science and Technology about using a del.icio.us account to keep track of their online news stories and blog posts.
Their insight: while using del.icio.us makes it easier to track media coverage, it also provides a potent tool for measuring and analyzing the impact of their media relations activities since del.icio.us shows you which stories are being saved by others (one indication of popularity).
Add in the use of tags and tag clouds, and you can start getting a pretty good tool for identifying the issues and interests of your current and potential allies and coalition partners.