Thursday, November 26, 2009

Social Media And Economic Development

Jim Russell @ Burgh Diaspora talks about economic development professionals finally warming up to the use of social media and provides this link.

"Social media–in the form of tools such as LinkedIn, Facebook, YouTube and blogs–are starting to transform how we live our lives. When it comes to the world of economic development, social media usage is growing, but not yet as a consistent part of the practitioner's tool kit.

A recent survey sponsored by the International Economic Development Council (IEDC) and Development Counsellors International (DCI) took a deeper look at the state of social media among economic developers. The survey asked more than 300 IEDC members about their use of social media and its role in their organizational strategies and communications efforts.

The survey results clearly indicate that social media is still a "new thing" for economic developers. While 57 percent of respondents use social media in their organization's communications efforts, most of this use has only begun in the past year. In fact, of those using social media, only 37 percent of respondents have used social media for longer than one year. As DCI President and Chief Creative Officer Andy Levine noted, "Economic development groups are just getting their feet wet with social media. We're in the very early days of this work."

Skipping ahead:

"Finally, Levine expects to see a lot of innovations in the use of social media. For example, he envisions that communities could create "digital ambassadors" to discuss the benefits of living and working in a certain region or community. These ambassadors, people who have many Facebook followers or LinkedIn connections, would serve as a very credible advocate for local economic development efforts. He expects to see lots of experimentation and new approaches over the next several years."

Of course, the basic premise is absurd. Almost every city already has dozens, if not hundreds and thousands of bloggers, Tweeters and such eager to hype their favorite city street,urban park, event, band, gallery, house tour, or private business.

The trick is often to just unleash them or at least not actively stand in their way with no photography policies and other barriers as many still do.

The viral success of an event like Artprize owed largely using this energy to market the event and the city.

Not surprisingly places like Youngstown with meager resources are leading the charge towards innovation and openness.

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