Text, Talk, Engage (TTE) is an engagement approach that combines digital technology and face-to-face discussion to increase the impact of engagement efforts. It is a process that facilitates text-enabled, small-group conversations that happen in many places on a single day.
Decision makers across all sectors are looking for ways they can engage their audiences. Whether it’s from potential donors, voters, constituents or clients, feedback is increasingly important to meet an organization’s goals. Since audiences can be diverse and the best way to access them ranges from community to community, it’s important to have engagement tools that are just as flexible as your listeners.
We need engagement vehicles that are versatile enough to complement other forms of participation, that can take place anytime, anywhere, and that can be 'scaled up' to deal with state and federal issues.
TTE encourages dialogue that is informed, thought-provoking, and personally meaningful. It helps people figure out what they think, provide input, and decide what else they might want to do.
Participants are recruited primarily through social media and asked to form groups of 3-4 people. They text “start” to a pre-assigned code and then receive a series of text messages, including: discussion questions for the group; process suggestions; polling questions that can be answered from their phones; and requests to respond with action ideas and commitments they will make to increase engagement with their audiences.
Throughout the process, participants also receive links that allow them to see how the people participating in the process have responded to the polling and action questions. Participants are then asked to post pictures of their groups on Twitter using the hashtag #TextTalkEngage. The experience is designed to last roughly one hour, though groups can move as quickly or slowly as they want.
TTE can be used by all kinds of leaders, including public officials, civic associations, nonprofit organizations, and foundations. The approach can be applied to a state-level or national policy issues, and can be paired with other forms of engagement like more intensive face-to-face deliberations. For elected officials, TTE can yield input from constituents, and connect candidates with voters. For associations that have chapters across the country or across a state, TTE can generate a meaningful dialogue and stronger connections between the members and the main office. For educators, TTE can facilitate learning among students in many different places and settings.
TTE evolved from an earlier project, Text Talk Act, which was part of President of Obama’s National Dialogue for Mental Health. Since 2013, Text Talk Act has engaged over 50,000 people in productive dialogue and action on mental health issues.
The League For Innovation has used TTE as part of their Faculty Voices Project. The process enabled them to learn about the issues that were important to community college faculty members across the country.