Stakeholder mapping = online stakeholder mapping

Despite the various “influential bloggers” lists and the like about, what often escapes the otherwise astute PA professional is that the online world is not a different universe, at least in Public Affairs in Brussels. Citizen blogging or tweeting on the majority of issues that PA folk in Brussels care about has not taken off, meaning that the usual array of politicians, officials and journalists that are artfully mapped out in the hallowed stakeholder maps, a staple of PA, just need an extra couple of columns and it’s an online stakeholder map too.

In short, check if the said individuals tweet or blog or otherwise engage (avid engagement in a certain LinkedIn group perhaps?) and add a couple of extra columns, one for whichever channel they use, and another on how they use it (last tweeted 6 months ago, ignore; avid and insightful blogger, don’t ignore.)

A shame somewhat, but still a reality on the majority of issues. Don’t get me wrong, there are influential people here or there outside the regular offline crowd, especially in tech and energy, and there are a few influential generalists, but the issues based influential crowd in Brussels is pretty much the same whether on or offline.


4 thoughts on “Stakeholder mapping = online stakeholder mapping”

  1. I kind of agree.

    However, there may still be a reason to map online networks different to offline-networks. Somebody who may be at the fringes offline can be an important information hub online while an influential offline broker may not care for her online presence much.

    1. Yep don’t disagree, that’s why I’d be careful when mapping the online bit to not just indicate whether the person has a presence, but to highlight the nature of their presence (highly active and of great quality, well-followed vs. updates once every 6 months).

  2. This is very useful and quite timely, considering the way social media is increasingly having an impact of issues development. To be honest, as a mid-career professional studying post-grad communications and public affairs, this type of advice hasn’t explicitly cropped up in the stakeholder management literature, or for for that matter classes.

    Tracking social media use offers a valuable means of acquiring deeper understanding of your policy environment in a few ways. Just to be up-to-date with developments in all spheres, ie. the offline as well as online world. As a way of gathering further intel on your stakeholders – where they’re from, their current thinking and so on. But also, the pace at which issues develop, in many ways aided by digital technologies and 24/7 communications, means you can’t really afford not to be across what happens in the online world.

    1. Thanks for your comment Samantha, I agree with everything you say.

      p.s. I guess it hasn’t propped up because it’s a very simple point and stakeholder management literature veers towards the complex!

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