Category Archives: Information

What blogs should I follow?


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I have just purged the blogs I follow and I find myself looking for some new perspectives.

Do you have any recommendations? I would love to hear them! Send me your comments below or on twitter.

Looking forward to your suggestions!

Changing Minds on Important Issues

I’m still thinking about Brexit. I’ve been thinking about the role of social media and how social networks contributed or didn’t contribute to the outcome of the vote.

For anyone else facing a big vote in, say, the next 4 months, who is worried about the potential result, I would say this: there are 2 things to learn from the Brexit vote.

1. There is little point posting your views into your own social network (ie the group of people you habitually socialize with on Facebook or Twitter) because your social network is  likely to think the same way you do. You are just reinforcing what your network already thinks, you aren’t changing minds.

2. You can’t rely on the fact that someone else out there is going to communicate the message you are interested in to the people outside your network – there isn’t a proactive “them” out there who are going to campaign and canvas, you can’t rely on politicians or activists to do that.

So if you have a message to get across how would you do that?

The podcast below from YANSS (  is quite long but the first half hour is set up and you can get most of what you need for context from the description of the content in the podcast. It describes an approach to changing minds that delivers a 10% opinion change. Doesn’t sound like much does it? But in political science that kind of percentage change is incredibly exciting. That kind of percentage change can move election results.

The approach is called Deep Canvassing and it is about respectfully engaging with the other by exploring with them situations in their own lives that help them to empathise with your viewpoint. Respect is important, after all, even though political scientists get excited about the 10% that still means 90% won’t change their minds.

Here’s a quote from one of the canvassers,

“There is nothing you can tell this person that is going to change their mind…when we see facts and figures that don’t align with our opinions our gut instincts lead us to reject those opinions”

We like to believe that if we can just explain the facts, why then people will come round to our way of thinking. The truth is that emotions, feelings and experience carry way more weight.

Whether you are a strategist looking for new ways to engage audiences or a concerned citizen with friends/interest groups you want to influence I recommend you listen to this podcast.


Speaking out

I am coming into London tonight for an event organised by Laura North at the University of the Arts for their course reps. I’ll be talking about how to deliver confident presentations and also how to gain confidence speaking in meetings. I have done an event for Laura before, a couple actually, and I’m looking forward to this one. It’s nice to be able to pass on skills rather than hoarding them to yourself!

It’s also nice to be doing something a little bit work related and leaving the Mini Dictator at home to play with my husband.

Something new and interesting for Friday

I received a rather interesting comment post, transcript below. They seem genuine and actually if they aren’t I don’t care – I’d rather be a wide-eyed sucker than a cynical and hard bitten old bag (I may be the latter already -discuss)

Here is the post!

“We are Robin of Shoreditch, an anonymous group of creative outlaws looking to take from the rich and give to the poor. In this particular instance, the people of Haiti.

How? Well, we’re not rescue workers. And we’d be no good on a celebrity single. But what we can do is provide creative ideas that can add value to businesses and brands. So we’re providing every one of Brand Z’s Top 100 brands with just such a creative idea. In return, all we’re asking for is 1/10,000,000 (that’s one ten-millionth) of the value of those brands as a fee. Not for us. 100% of that fee will be going to the continued relief efforts in Haiti.

So why should you care? Well, we’d like to ask a little favour. You see, the more people who know about this project, the more pressure will build on the brands to pay their ‘invoices’ and the more money will be sent to Haiti. So we’d really appreciate it if you could put the word out on your blog and send people along to Hopefully that way news of the project will spread so that the brands in question see that it’s in their best interests to pay up.”

They asked me to post a link and I have. I watch with interest.

The real question for 2010

We can make all the predictions we like about the development of technology, new communications methods bla bla bla, but the really important question for all us in the UK is – how will you vote in the forthcoming election? Because this time the choice isn’t between a little bit more money or a little bit less money in our pocket. Nor should it be about whether we like Gordon Brown’s tailor. This is by far the most important election for the last 12 years, because it will determine how or maybe even whether we ride out the economic storm.

And of course, for those of us leading fully networked lives there’s a different level of interest after the central role played by social media in the 2009 Obama campaign. Will the UK political parties go the same way? (yes they already are – eg webCameron) Will they suceed?

I was having a discussion about all this with @mccrudden at lunch. He thinks there are interesting opportunities for independent candidates – I definitely agree with that.  There may also be opportunities for progressive and energetic individuals MPs because social media revolves around the cult of personality. But will it be the decisive poll swinging tool that it undoubtedly was in the States? I have to say I doubt it.

Our politicians have less to differentiate them,   there is not a massively smarting disenfranchised electorate that feels ignored by one party out there waiting for mobilisation, there isn’t one person to vote for, there’s a party and I think that we still know that, and on top of that there is British cynicism.

I think there may be a real opportunity for apolitical organisations to drive election agendas using online spaces, which will not only be in social media. You only have to look at, or the fact that 38 degrees has already launched into 2010 by polling its members about whether they should act to drive political discussion in the election, or this post about

The Guardian and many political think tanks have taken the opposite view to me. They think that this election will be substantially driven by social media – or at least by digital media.

I think that it will play a substantial part, it will be integral, but will it be the change maker as it was in the States? Will it really swing the central, floating voters out of their complacency?

Whatever the result I am looking forward to the ingenuity of the various party teams – they’re going to have to work hard to catch our attention and I don’t doubt that they will.