Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero has a daunting challenge. Our city is at a crossroads. All of us, in the mid-Michigan area, have a stake in Lansing's future. Identifying the challenges, laying out a vision and then pulling people together is a must-do if Michigan's State Capital City will ever thrive as a place to live and work.
But, to succeed, there must be a change in the city's culture of communication. Mainstream media has long-passed its golden age. It's no longer an effective way to communicate. That means going outside the mainstream. This includes:
- Mayor Bernero demonstrating that he wants to listen to more than just the business community and others in leadership positions. He has to demonstrate an uncharacteristic openness and a desire to get feedback. As Harry Frankfort, the prof from Princeton, says in his book, On Bullshit, people are tired of it. They turn it off.
- He needs to recognize that press releases are dead. Their utility and their effectiveness as a communications channel is less than minimal. The Michigan Legislature where Virg came from thrived on press releases. This made the lawmakers feel good, but did nothing to communicate actions and ideas.
- My suggestion, he himself needs to become involved in the blogosphere. On a person-to-person level, he can be very engaging. He needs to reach a wider audience on a wide variety of topics. If people see his transparency and his genuineness, they will have an easier time pulling together around his leadership. And, if they dont, it will be business as usual.
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