I frankly haven’t decided what I think of this myself, but I think it’s too interesting not to share with you.
MindMixer launched a “quiz” this week that I think is intended to get public official types thinking about what residents really want out of public engagement. It’s a fascinating exercise, but I can’t tell at this point if it’s a marketing tool or if they’re actually gathering information to try to identify trends and commonalities (MindMixer tends to be better than many of the smaller firms at compiling and analyzing user trends across projects, in part because their projects are relatively consistent and in part because they have the bandwidth to do so).
When you take the quiz, you get presented with five statements, and you have to identify whether the person who said that was a community official or a resident. At the end of the questions, you find out whether you were “right” or “wrong” and then given a little extra information. My own problem is that the actual source of the quote is never identified, so even though the introduction says that all the quotes are from real people, the lack of citation sort of underctuts the believability. Plus it’s assuming that one person’s single quote reflects a very large population. None of which negates the information attached to the feedback, but the more competitive among us (ahem…) are probably inclined to complain about test and argue with the teacher over the grade. Fat lot of good that does, but it is a little distracting.
My Type -A issues aside, the information in the feedback makes it worth a small bit of your time. Without giving you the answers (teacher!!), here’s a couple examples of the explanations:
Every year, just 9 percent of Americans attend in-person meetings. Just like you, people are busy, and taking the time to go to a meeting where they might only get a few minutes at the microphone – and no promise of getting anything in return – is too high a barrier.”
“To a certain extent, community leaders and community members are most concerned with outcomes. You work toward goals. So with everything you do, the payoff is in seeing its positive effect. For Meg Kelly, project manager with Bluestem Communications, long drives and longer days of working with locals and leaders in the Lake Winnebago region of Wisconsin paid off when she observed people with varying backgrounds, on different corners of the lake, coming together online to improve their quality of life.”
So you get an easy mix of facts, arguments in favor of online public engagement and leads on examples that might help you make the case in your community. Probably a worthwhile way to spend a few minutes…just don’t worry too much about your “grade.”