The Internet is your Frenemy

Internet research is a great tool to use in your campaigns, especially when filling out your Midwest Academy Strategy Chart.  Information can be found immediately at the tap of one’s fingertips.  However, there are some issues to consider.  On one hand, search engines can point us to the information that we need, but we may feel confused with irrelevant or questionable information.  How can Internet users improve their searches to find reliable information? What are some strategies to perform effective searches?  Here are some tips that will allow you to search efficiently and to find reliable information online.

  • To search for more information about your city beyond its official city website, type in “name of city” + terms such as tobacco/smoking/cigarettes/healthy/”health and wellness” along with your policy area.
  • Is your city too small to host its own newspaper?  For media in the community, type in city name in conjunction with the words blog, blogspot, wordpress, patch, tribune, news, tumblr, weekly.
  • If your city has an online newspaper/blog, and if there is an article related to your issue, scour the comments section for any possible information that you can use in your campaign.
  • City council bios not so rich with information?  Past campaign election websites are great places to dig up information on current key decision makers.  Bonus- you can find out who supported them in their last election.  Use “name of city/council member” + “election”
  • Your city’s official calendar not up to date?  Note that most cities and organizations will organize some type of event around various times of the year.  Holiday themed events are very popular, and especially during the summer time, cities will also host events in the public spaces such as concerts, food trucks gatherings, movie screenings, etc.  If your city is hosting a food truck event, it is a great place to meet community members, conduct surveys, and gather petition situations because folks are standing in long lines waiting for their food.  Type in phrases and words such as “festival” “fair” “holiday” “fiesta” “farmer’s market” “5k/10k run walk” “name of city” + “event” “public event” “concerts in the park”, “movies in the park”, “food truck”, “health fair”.

As always, take whatever you find on the internet with a grain of salt.  Information is subject to accuracy and should always be double checked with an email or phone call.  A meeting date/time listed on the local Kiwanis website may be incorrect.  Meeting locations may have changed, or last minute cancellations may not be indicated on the website. 

We know we’ve got some savvy internet users out there, got any great tips and tricks to share?

-Jeannie Jung

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