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A list of topics for state legislators or legislative candidates to blog about

What would you blog about if you were a state legislator or a legislative candidate?  Here’s some ideas:

  • Your comfort level with computers.  Now be honest and don’t be afraid to say when they intimidate you.  And share whether you’re Mac or PC.
  • Your understanding of blogs.  Maybe you don’t really get them, but you’re doing it because you know you should.  Remember be open about how you feel.
  • Explain what being a good listener means to you.  How would your kids, your wife and others say you rate as a listener?
  • How important is listening to being an effective lawmaker?
  • What situations have you been in where you have felt not listened to?
  • How do you decide how to vote on an issue when one side wants you to vote yes and the other just as strongly wants you to vote no?
  • Do you think a politician has the freedom to change his or her mind on an issue?  How open should they be about just changing their mind?
  • How hard is it for you to answer somebody that you just don’t know?  Are you ever tempted to wing it?
  • Are there people that you don’t like?  Do you find it hard to listen to them?
  • Who was most influential in your life?  Would you hesitate to say it was your parole officer?  Your ex-wife?  Your pastor?
  • How will getting elected affect your family life?  Make it better?  Make it worse?
  • If you’re a member of the Christian Right, would you find it difficult to love your gay daughter?
  • Do you have doubts about being able to do the job that you want to be elected or reelected to?

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How would you grade these Oakland County (MI) candidates as Tribe leaders?

I bet neither candidate for the Michigan state House in the 39th District have read Seth Godin’s new book Tribes.  You decide.

The two candidates–Lisa Brown and Amy Peterman– in the state’s affluent Oakland County are working hard to represent West Bloomfield, Commerce Township and the Village of Wolverine Lake.  They’re both attorneys, involved in their communities and have families.  Today’s Detroit Free Press describes their campaigns as very competitive.

But, how would you rate them as Tribe leaders who are building a community of like-minded people using the new tools of the internet?

Check out their websites and rate them on their ability to draw people together into a community that can pull together.  Here is Lisa Brown’s website and here is Amy Peterman’s.

If you’re not familiar with Godin’s book, you can download listen to it for less than a buck by downloading it on iTunes.

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What should a candidate for the state legislature blog about?

What should a candidate for the state legislature blog about?

I’ve found that candidates have a tough time wrapping their head around an answer to this.  Many have been exposed to blogs to some degree, some a little and some a little more than that. 

But, most, if not all I’ve talked to, don’t see topics that they can write about that would be of interest to a voter.

Mention that the marketplace for products and ideas has changed, you get stares and yawns.  Research shows that consumers are looking for conversation when they consider new products and new ideas.

And they are looking for a relationship with those who they deal with whether, it’s a car dealer, a software company or a person to represent them in the state legislature.

For politicians that means that voters want to know and have a relationship with candidates.  The person they vote for has to be more than a press release. 

They want the candidate to talk with them where they do family business, at the kitchen table.  In most situations that could be done most easily on a laptop and through a blog.

What do you want to know about a person who is going to spend lots of your money.  It’s relationship and all the pieces that go into one.

That should be a starting point for blog topics.

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Are cell phones and the internet bringing families closer together?

With mobile devices, it’s possible for families to stay connected and close.  Is that actually happening and is it making a difference?

The Pew Internet & American Life Project released the findings of research
about how the internet and cell phones have become central components of modern family life.  Some quick stats from their report:

  • 89 % of married-with-children households own multiples cell phones and nearly half own three or more mobile devices.
  • 69 % of married-with-children households have a high-speed broadband internet connection at home, well above the national average for all households of 52%.
  • Both spouses and at least one child go online in 65% of married-with-children households.

The report which can be downloaded is filled with findings about how these devices are affecting a variety of demographic groups.

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Let me brag: Super-son who works for widget-maker quoted in Washington Post

My 24-year-old son who has the blog–Oatmeal Stout-Justin Thorp’s Web 2.0–was quoted today in the Washington Post for being one of the organizers of Barcamp DC2, a special unconference of computers geeks.

Justin works as the community manager for web developers at Clearspring Technology.  They’re a startup that’s taking the web to the next level with widgets.  Learn more about widgets in this white paper which he helped quarterback.

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Jeremiah Owyang shares his favorite social media books

Your boss asks you to recommend a book about social media to explain what all the fuss is about. What would you recommend to her or him?

Jeremiah Owyang, in his blog–Web Strategy by Jeremiah–recommends three. He’s regarded as a top thinker and tracker of social media and he recommends Cluetrain Manifesto, Naked Conversations and Groundswell.

I’ve read the first two and I’m looking forward to swiping the third, Groundswell, off my son’s bookshelf so I can read it.

Check the comments on his post for other book suggestions.

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Pastors Take Note: With little more than one hour, here’s how Pastor Noel Keikkinen got sermon video

Super-wife and I decided to attend last Saturday night’s service at Riverview Church in Holt, MI.  The auditorium was packed with at least 500 worshippers who were half our age.

There was an incredible energy in the church where the music vibrated the hot, flavored coffee in my hand.  It was almost like the Holy Spirit had one too many Red Bulls before the service.

The teaching came from Pastor Noel Heikkinen who taught about fear and how to deal with it. 

A video highlight illustrating the sermon was taken about an hour-and-a-half before the sermon.  Pastor Noel took a buddy with a Vette who drove through the church parking lot and just behind him with tires squealing and smoking.  He made the point.

In his blog post about making the video, he tells about how he used his iPhone to edit it just before the service.  He says process took about 15 minutes.  This is his effort as shown on YouTube:

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Does my friend need both a static website and a blog for his political campaign?

I bet my friend will start his political campaign with both a static website and a blog.

The election is for a seat in our state senate and it won’t be open until year after next.  It’s early, but he’s starting to lay the groundwork.  And one of the topics is a website.

Two weeks before this general election you can click on a couple hundred websites for legislative candidates in this state and they all look alike.  They all have a homepage where each candidate provides the cliches of the campaign like they will make more jobs, reduce the cost and make available healthcare for everybody and it will say they are for better schools.

Most often you will see a page of endorsements where local officeholders, union locals, business leaders, the county sheriff and others say the candidate has their support.  And there’s probably an “About Me” page where the candidate has bloviated all over him or herself.

Some candidates may have a page where credit card contributions can be made or where voters can volunteer to put up signs or go door-to-door.

The few who have a blog try a post or two and then don’t do anymore.  Most often the posts sound like they were spit out of a news release factory.  Forget posts with any pretense towards building community.

What should I tell my friend?

Can a candidate grasp how to effectively use a blog and other social media?

Are they too tied to the old campaign practices of the past where literature is dumped and workers go literally door-to-door?

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Are church websites ready for advertising?

Is your church looking for more money?

Here in mid-Michigan where the economy is mired in unemployment organizations of all stripes are looking for ways to pay the bills.  I know that the local church especially in our part of the state has to be included.

What about selling ads on church websites?

The blog, Church Marketing Sucks, asked for reaction
in a recent poll and found that 62 percent of the respondents felt that they viewed that as a sellout and 38 percent liked the idea.

In our part of the country, I’ve heard very few church leaders brag about the number of visits to their website.  In most situations, their website is a static electronic brochure giving the who, what, when, where, how, why and so what of their program.

How many churches use their website as a virtual church dining room where members, attenders and seekers get together and compare notes? 

Anybody know of church websites with revenue producing ads?

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Great advice for getting your message noticed

The line of business people, politicians, non-profit organizational executives and others who want their message noticed is long.

Just about everyday I talk with somebody who feels that social media and web 2.0 is some kind of magic fairy dust that will zap your message to just the right person at the right time with little or no cost.  And they are disappointed and disillusioned when it doesn’t happen.

The secret is relationships, using the internet and events to make relationships where you get to know people and they get to know you.

In a blog post, Pro-Blogger Darren Rowse writes about this and links to a video by wine guy Gary Vaynerchuk who states it more clearly.  Remember, Gary is the young New Jersey guy who used his daily wine program to build his family’s small wine shop into a $50 million a year business.

This video and Darren’s post is worth watching, talking about and recommending to others.