Michigan State Rep. Rick Olson is a freshman legislator from the Ann Arbor area who has been going door to door in his district to get face-to-face feedback from his constituents about proposals to drastically cut spending for schools and to cut tax breaks on pensions and eliminate the Earned Income Tax Credit.
The story about what he's learning is in this morning's newsfeed for AnnArbor.com and gives plenty of good detail about reaction that Olson is receiving and about the new legislator's attitudes about the proposals and how they need to be modified.
But the question that comes to my mind is why Olson, a Standford Law School graduate, doesn't use social media like a blog, a Facebook Fan Page or Twitter to have an ongoing conversation with all his consitutents.
Is he too much of a baby-boomer to have a communication mind-set and experience with how social media is actually a cultural shift in the way people interact in the marketplace? He has time to change and to get his district connected for the great tasks that lie ahead in this state.
He could start by reading Gary Vaynerchuk's new book The Thank You Economy which is aimed at businesses, but applies equally to governmental leaders.
A CLARIFICATION: On my Facebook page, a friend suggested that I was being critical of Olson for going door-to-door. I think that needs to be positively acknowledged and encouraged. But legislators have limited time to have that front door type of interaction with constituents. My point and my suggestion to Olson and other legislators is that they need to learn how to leverage social media to get a real and an ongoing conversation going with the people they represent.