7/29/2010

brain-dump thoughts on bridging the gap between 'leaders' and 'public'

[Presumably this will be turned into coherent english at some point, but for now I wanted to get my thoughts down and I figured some of you might be interested to see one of my brain-dumps edited just enough to be semi-comprehensible to others. Amusingly-enough turning this from my shorthand into something I figured you could actually follow more than quadrupled its length...]:

Very common problem with any organization: general 'public'/membership don't know what's going on with the leaders/who the people in any given possition are (elected, appointed, hired, volunteered, conscripted, blackmailed), what they're up to, what current business is being transacted
--> public too lazy to bother to find out or to listen when that info is shared - is somewhat their own damned fault
--> but as with all design issues anything that's "user-error" is almost always a faulty design that influences people to behave in an undesirable manner - if widespread is (almost) always structural design flaw (see The Design Of Everyday Things by Norman - READ IT NOW!!)
--> leaders/people in specific positions don't advertise this enough, don't distribute info widely enough in dif mediums, don't run things "open source" enough
--> depending on demographics, learning styles, lifestyles people have differing mediums to learn info that do/don't work as well - relying on just one medium will leave out too many
(side/related issue: email vs phone vs text vs im vs face-to-face - each mediums have strengths/weaknesses - each medium preferred by dif people depending on their learning styles, lifestyles, familiarity, context - dif mediums inaccessible to dif demo's and disenfranchise certain groups - need to understand this to communicate effectively w/ various people)
--> examples: umASS residence life, umASS bureaucracy in general, town govs, smaller obscure gov agencies, etc
--> need to offer as many oportunities for public to interact as possible - will get more active involvement, people will feel more empowered, will have better respect for the work that is getting done, will be more willing to pay for the work being done
--> can never reach everyone, too many people don't care, don't want to know - what's the right balance? when leave them to their bliss and tell them to shove off when they bitch unjustifiably?

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