Urban Tribe - Ride with your kids in front.

Can good web content build the bike movement?

Posted by on March 8th, 2012 at 1:51 pm

What if government agencies and advocacy groups spent a greater portion of their time and resources creating online content that connected with their constituents and members and then used that audience to support their work?

I’m excited to announce that, thanks to the forethought and effort of Portland Afoot‘s Michael Andersen, I’ll be joining a panel at the upcoming Oregon Active Transportation Summit (4/16-17 in Salem) that will try to address that question.

Here’s the official title and description of our session:

Content marketing: How an innovation from the private sector can shift modes and build culture

Digital media has made content marketing – using great content to retain and deepen a brand’s relationships with customers – one of the hottest developments in the world of corporate marketing. How can governments and advocates put this idea to work on behalf of the brand we all believe in: active transportation?

Three expert content creators will mix public and private-sector experience to talk about the best practices for using social media and the web to build deep connections with readers. They’ll discuss how to make content that goes beyond advocacy to something more fundamental (and more fun): cultural change.”

Andersen will be moderator and I’ll be joined on the panel by: Matthew Arnold, associate principal and Studio Leader for Urban Design & Planning, SERA Architects; and Kelly Bantle, vice president of Pac/West Communications and manager of Oregon’s Drive Less/Save More campaign.

The way I see it, you can’t have a revolution without a lot of people. Blogs and other social media tools give everyone the opportunity to build a large and engaged audience. And the important thing is, unlike a list of emails from public meetings or names on a membership list, having a large online audience gives you the ability to share ideas and information very, very quickly. It’s when the size of the audience and that speed come together when you can really do exciting things.

If you’re headed to the Summit in Salem this April (and you should be!), consider attending our session. See the event website for more info.

NOTE: We love your comments and work hard to ensure they are productive, considerate, and welcoming of all perspectives. Disagreements are encouraged, but only if done with tact and respect. If you see a mean or inappropriate comment, please contact us and we'll take a look at it right away. Thank you — Jonathan

  • 9watts March 8, 2012 at 2:02 pm

    “Can good web content build the bike movement?”

    There is no question in my mind that you & bikeportland have helped do just that, in immeasurable ways.

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  • SteelSchwinnster54 March 8, 2012 at 2:04 pm

    So..now legislators will have emedia advisors, would that just be another layer to government, or an opportunity to advance a politicians view on state matters.
    Im not sure…was’nt there a U.S. senator who had a twitter account. I know Im very much a luddite here.
    But good on ya Jonathan, I will be expecting a in-depth report on how you think it will work.

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  • Paul Johnson March 8, 2012 at 2:52 pm

    Sure, but just as important is not shutting out viewpoints wholesale just because you have a personal beef with the author.

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    • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) March 8, 2012 at 3:13 pm


      I don’t “shut out” viewpoints for that reason. Yes, I do have you on auto-moderate and I do delete some of your comments; but it has nothing to do with personal beefs and everything to do with maintaining my site the way I want to. Thanks.

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      • jim March 13, 2012 at 10:06 pm

        Does this mean that you will only allow posts that only support one opinion, the same opinion as the author? no counter viewpoint? What if there are important counterpoints that have not been discussed? This website is a news source for many as well as an opinion blog. What would people think if they only saw support for something without any critique?

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  • John Lascurettes March 8, 2012 at 3:10 pm

    Short answer to headline: yes.

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  • Richard March 8, 2012 at 3:32 pm

    Yes. “Good” web content (BP) certainly can. OLive’s penchant for “bike vs. car” drama certainly doesn’t. Both the blog and the commenters here are informed — I learn a lot that is valuable in furthering my own cycling and encouraging others.
    OT (but I hope somewhat relevant): Are there statistics available about the number of pedestrian injuries and fatalities caused by bikes in Portland, the Metro area, or Oregon? A Letter to the Editor in The O today asserts that bikes cause lots of carnage (and therefore should have to be licensed, registered, have insurance, etc). I can’t find any actual statistics close to home (some good information from New York, and from Britain, but that’s a little far afield). I don’t recall seeing any stories about a cyclist in this area killing a pedestrian.

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  • Tourbiker March 9, 2012 at 2:49 am

    Dunno bout web content…but more women on bikes is a sure way to get more men…….heck..more women for that matter….aww geck…like Freddie Mercury said…get on your bikes & ride!

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  • Keith Laughlin March 9, 2012 at 7:10 am

    Yes. Rails-to-Trails has made a significant investment in building an electronic platform to encourage trail use and bike advocacy. As a result, we now have an email list of more than 500,000 that we regularly call upon to support our advocacy. We recently targeted just 60 US House districts and generated more than 10,000 emails from constituents in one day.

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