A look back at 2009

Measuring communication is one of the more difficult things about this business. Experts have debated for years the science of measurement for public relations and public involvement. Especially in a non-profit/government context, which is not tied to a distinct bottomline, defining success by the numbers is a tremendous challenge.

This year, the WSDOT communications team decided to ask our blog readers, Facebook friends, Twitterati and other on-line contacts to give us some feedback. The results were very interesting and for us, very valuable. In November we sent out a link to an online survey to more than 65,000 e-mail addresses that are part of our GovDelivery listserv databases, and we also posted the link on Twitter and on this blog. Within a few hours we had thousands of responses.

The results of that survey have been incorporated into our 2009 communications annual report (pdf 1.8 mb). We know this was not a scientific sampling. But the feedback was tremendously helpful in identifying areas in which we can improve.

Please take a moment to look through our annual report. We have organized the report to explain our outputs - those things we published and sent to the public and the media - and the outcomes, which mostly is comprised of your survey feedback. Since this is the first annual report of this kind, we have considered many of these measures as baselines against which we will be able to chart progress in future years.

Perhaps the reason that measurement and return on investment has been so difficult for public relations and public involvement has to do with how much of our success is based on relationships. We value you as a reader, as a person who uses the transportation system. And, we look forward to continuing to serve you with creative, interesting and useful communication information in 2010 and beyond.