It was way back in September, 2011 when I had a celebratory lunch in St. Paul with my colleagues, Curt Johnson and Jay Walljasper. We’d been given the go-ahead by the Kresge Foundation on our proposal to assist the Detroit Fellows “in the effective use of telling their stories and sharing their experiences through blogs, Twitter, social media, articles, personal essays, op-eds, video scripts, spoken presentations, and other media.”
That’s quite a laundry list but the basic idea is a simple one: use media of all kinds to give the work of the Fellows as much impact as possible.
We now have the website up for the Detroit Fellows project. I’ve been working closely with one of the Fellows, Eric Anderson, on the creation of the site.
The site has a Fellows group blog where they’ve started blogging and where Jay has published some of his Fellows’ profiles. We also have our own Citiscope/Detroit Fellows blog where Curt, Jay and I now have our initial blog posts up.
My job is to offer coaching to those Fellows interested in using social media tools as a way to leverage their leadership. We’ll focus mainly on blogs and Twitter.
I’ve been speaking to each of the Fellows by phone in the past couple of weeks to introduce myself, learn more about their work, and give them a quick overview about the kinds of things my coaching would involve. I hope to start working with a small group in April.
I’ve been coaching leaders in the use of blogs and other online tools since 2003, but this will be the first time I’ve taken on a group of community leaders. I’m looking forward to it.
I got together with Curtis Johnson and Jay Walljasper for lunch at Muffuletta’s in St. Paul last week. I spent much of the 90s at Utne Reader when Jay was editor and I was the new media guy. I’ve been doing blog-related projects for Curt and his Citistates colleagues since 2004, where Jay is one of the associates.
The occasion? We’ll be working together with the Detroit Revitalization Fellows Program at Wayne St. University, funded in part by the Kresge Foundation. The program is:
… designed to attract, develop and retain promising young professionals who will help lead the economic revitalization and development of Detroit. This talent pool is being cultivated in order to build the capacity of public, for-profit, nonprofit and quasi-public organizations, including Detroit’s anchor institutions.
We’re doing this project under the Citiscope umbrella, a Citistates Group project. I’ll provide more details in the next few weeks as our work gets going.
My consulting business brings an infusion of $1.65 to downtown Northfield most days, depending on where I have coffee. Last week I was happy to ratchet that up a bit with two client meetings at the HideAway CoffeeHouse and Winebar.
The principals of The Citistates Group paid a visit to Northfield on Wednesday to meet with me and Northfield web designer Sean Hayford O’Leary. Sean and I have worked with Neal Peirce, Farley Peters, and Curtis Johnson for years but had never met with them F2F.
On Thursday, I met with Republican-endorsed Senate 25 candidate Al DeKruif and two of his campaign volunteers, Daryl Bauer and Brian Wermerskirchen. I’m working with them on social media-related activities for Al’s campaign.
The first time my consulting business had a huge economic impact (dozens of dollars!) on downtown Northfield was in the summer of 2004 when a group of Brits from the Blair government descended on the Contented Cow, desperate for British beer. They returned with some colleagues in the summer of 2005.