“Let Kurtz put you in the driver’s seat.”

If you don’t follow media critic Howard Kurtz, you need to start today. He’s easy to find. In his recent post about DC’s fiscal cliff-hanger, Kurtz imparted no fewer than seven important messages about communicating in the 21stcentury. The following quotes are from his (always) excellent post.

1.       The world is changing. You must keep up.

“It was a startling moment, but almost no one realized that a sea change had occurred. The president of the United States was urging the great American public to rise up and demand change through social media.

2.       Technology has changed the way we communicate.

“Twitter can indeed be a potent weapon. And the fact that the White House is now trafficking in hashtags shows how technology has changed the art of persuasion."

3.       Remarkable stories are about what your audience wants. Not what you want.

“Urging voters to pressure Congress to accept his financial plan, Obama said last week: ‘I want you to call, I want you to send an email, I want you to post on their Facebook wall. If you tweet then use a hashtag we’re calling #My2K. Not Y2K. My2K. because it’s about your 2K in your pocket. We’re trying to burn that into people’s mind here.’”

4.       Retweeting other people’s stories is a powerful tactic.

“In an effort to personalize the eye-glazing numbers of a budget fight, the White House has been retweeting messages from people who’d be affected by the tax hike. ‘Laura McAfee: that’s 2 months rent and that’s huge to me, as a single mom.’ ‘Denise: We would be able to pay 2/3 of ONE semester of community college for our daughter.’”

5.       So is retweeting your own story.

“Anti-tax activist Grover Norquist told me he tweets his messages three times a day to reach shifting audiences.”

6.       You have to understand and embrace the power of social media.

“The Obama campaign trounced Mitt Romney on the digital front, in part because it had four years to prepare for Election Day and in part because the team was always more enthusiastic about the clout of social media in fundraising, registration, and message delivery.”

7.       It’s all about the story.

“On Sunday night, deputy campaign chief Stephanie Cutter emailed supporters to push the administration’s narrative on the fiscal cliff: ‘Your story matters and Congress needs to hear it.’”