A few days ago, we released a study on the Pulse of the region (pdf link), including perceptions of the region by outside and inside the region.
That study was hopeful, and also frankly, sobering. Perception matters — perception affects buying decisions, and those facts are compounding our economic problems, whether we like it or not.
Despite some individual groups’ best efforts, the needle hasn’t moved much as far as national perception. It’s time to unite and change that, and that can start with each person in the region who has decided in their heart that this region is theirs and we’re going to make it happen here. For the 89% of us 18-34 year olds who either love or like it here, and want to stay here, it’s crucial we take every step, however small, to work together to improve the view of the region.
We at the Hub are going to walk through this Pulse survey over the coming weeks (if you want just “Pulse” posts, there’s a link above for just this series) in a series of posts. What are the highlights? What do some of the key data points mean? What do they mean to you? How would you help move the needle, based on the insights gathered from the over 2,000 respondents?
I expect there to be some cantankerous discussion. Hard facts are sometimes, well, hard. It’s important that we all tell the real Detroit story. After all, being a cheer squad and not acknowledging the issues is downright folly.
However, much like our automotive companies, it took some time for the public to acknowledge the rise in quality that the industry made, and it will take some time for the world to, as well.
This example is apropos, as according to over 91% of outside respondents, when they think “Metro Detroit” they think “automotive.” Half of outside respondents also included music; but also 52% said it was negative issues like crime, unemployment, and riots.
We are, nationally, ONE region. There’s no separating Detroit from Ferndale from Southfield from Bloomfield in the eyes of the national public. The sooner we acknowledge that and move forward, together, the better. The days of provincialism on all sides must end if we are to be the region we could be.
So here’s suggestion one. It’s not an earth-shaking suggestion, but it’s also not a hard one for you do: Claim Detroit as your own on Twitter.
Right now Detroit ranks #54 in Twitter-using cities.
I’ve seen other initiatives such as “everyone put their handle as ‘Michigan,'” but frankly, “Michigan” doesn’t even rank. It’s a poor place to start, as much as our state rocks. We need to build off the momentum we already have instead of starting over.
Scanning the folks who follow us (@detroitunspun) on Twitter, there are a slew of different local-handle locations, from city to suburb. Looking at the site http://twitter.grader.com/top/cities, it seems as if they pick you up if “Detroit” is somewhere in your location. It seems their setup (and others) needs to be “Detroit, MI,” “Detroit, Michigan,” or just “Detroit,” so change your location to that. @ reply us when you’ve done it and we’ll retweet or thank you.
I don’t know if we’ll get to number one. That would be awesome. But going up 10 spots? Yeah, we can do that… when we work together.
P.S. – If you want to do more than just change your Twitter location, see Becks Davis at Detroit Moxie for ideas on how to get your hands dirty to change Detroit. For me, there’s nothing better than the feeling after tearing down, by hand, a former crack house. Try it sometime. Trust me, it’s great.