It is 1:14am.
Have given up on sleep and decided to Blog instead.
PLENTY has happened over the past few weeks, most of it good, some of it great, and a few things that actually take my breath away and inspire a hefty helping of awe!
There’s also been some disappointment, but we’re not going to talk about that.
What I’d like to talk about is some recent observations I’ve stumbled across.
People are overloaded with information. Not a groundbreaking realisation, I know. Perhaps even an inalienable truth of living in the developed world in 2013.
What has piqued my interest though, is how people deal with the bombardment of stimulus and information thrown at us from every angle.
I sent out a tweet earlier today that read: Dear fellow Do-Gooder types: If you spam people with heavy/political/controversial stuff all the time, they will disengage.
Well, needless to say, that got a few smart assed responses from some of my closer and more direct family and friends. But I meant it.
I think we all know that the world is a pretty messed up place. Anyone with an Internet connection and search engine is able to access accurate, relevant, and timely information on what is going on around the corner, or around the world if we seek it out.
I also think many (I actually hope MOST) people want to pitch in and make a difference and change their world for good.
It would be an amazing breakthrough if we could engage the right people at the right time, and give passionate people opportunities to volunteer what they can to a “perfect fit” goal, endeavour or event. We have the technology – we just need to mobilise.
Then I thought… so why don’t more people get off their bottoms and do something? I can honesty say that the energy it takes to make an excuse to NOT do something is often greater than the energy it takes to do something useful and constructive.
Some people have done very well out of mobilising individuals and corporates into action, and giving them attractive incentives to work together for both sides. Some Sparkle lady (who’s first name currently escapes me) has made a fortune tying corporates in with not for profits and NGO’s that will maximise their public profile and are well aligned and placed to help clean up their corporate responsibility image. I digress…
The next piece of the thought journey I’ve been meandering down tonight came when my husband complained that I always get waaaaaay more likes on Facebook for my posts than he does.
“That’s because I talk to people, in the real world and on FB. I compliment them and mean it when I do, smile, TRY to listen to them and that makes it easier for them to talk to me in return.”
He responded with a typically crass comment which I will censor from this blog, but it did make me laugh.
“The truth is baby, MOST people would much rather talk to you than to me. You are smarter, more influential and far more intelligent than I am.” I continued on.
“Yeah, and when people talk to me they are afraid I might punch them in the face.” He joked.
“Or you’ll say something to freak them out completely by being too abrupt or honest or inappropriate or something.” I said, smiling on my face and in my heart, because that honesty and intelligence and scathing wit my husband wields is a very VERY large part of why I am still very much in Love with him after 9 years of marriage.
That is where that conversation ended and this blog began.
People gravitate to what is easy and comfortable and even familiar.
I think it is great that we have causes and beliefs that we feel strongly about and want to get other people involved with as well. But the best way to encourage people to be interested in something, or listen to something you’d like them to hear or engage with is to find common ground. If you engage with someone through warmth and kindness, they feel it. Even through digital media I believe.
A bombardment of facts and figures, pretentious corporate speak, industry jargon, painful images of atrocities, or “urgent action required” emails is not going to engage anyone but a teensy weensy group of revolutionaries and activists who are already highly engaged in social change and fighting the “good fight” for justice, or animals, or whales, or our environment… or whatever their personal passion and soap box might be.
If we want people to get organised, get involved, get passionate about positive change – we have to make it simple, accessible and personally attractive to them.
So, I guess what I am saying, is that whoever you are, and whatever message you are trying to get across; you’ll have more success with a smile and a nod and an “I iz cheeseburger” cat meme type image than you might with cold hard facts, distressing truths, painfully poignant images, or bully tactics.
And there’s probably no point scaring or guilt tripping people into action. Fear and guilt are very powerful motivators for a short time, however, someone finding something they really engage with, and being given useful and fulfilling opportunities to help causes; THAT is a match made in heaven. And a match made in heaven that will hopefully lead to a life long relationship between an individual and a cause.
Just some late night thoughts and a little peak into the conversations that occur in the wee hours at the Hobbit Homestead.