Businessweek Archives

BW's stimulus network: work in progress


As I mentioned last week, we’ve launched a Ning site, BWinfrstructure.ning.com, to generate ideas about how the Obama government should spend billions in economic stimulus funds.

Got some good feedback this a.m. from Janet Ginsburg, a journalist, friend and social network savant. Here’s a selection:

Since there are only one or two members in most of the groups, perhaps it makes sense to rethink the division of groups. Although it is true that all infrastructure projects are local with funding wiring through the states, there are too many groups theoretically covering the same territory. There is also that marketing maxim where if you present a consumer with too many choices of just about anything, his response is “gotta run!”

I think it might be smarter to have fewer groups defined by types of infrastructure: Roads, Bridges, Water, Schools, Electric Grid, Parks, Whatever…. Then, each group needs a champion who will keep it moving with blog posts, links and questions. The champion should be someone who can bring in a few experts to be part of the group, so you begin to be sticky.

Bottom line: If everybody’s busy, you have to make a case for why it’s worth participating. They have to know they’re part of something that might make a difference (see Barack Obama’s web campaign strategy…). It’s unclear why you’ve started this Ning. Is it to mine info for articles? Or, or, or???

If you hadn’t created this Ning, would you participate in it? When the answer is a resounding Absolutely! - mission and website will be in sync. It’s not quite there yet…


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