Before I launch into the main post, I want to say that I wrote a vitriolic blog post, but decided against publishing it. This is the watered down version, because I actually would like something to come out of what I’m trying to articulate. Please read on:
UPDATE: Magaret Thatcher died while I was in a meeting, before I could put this live, so this post is perhaps more relevant now than ever.
I don’t normally do political things – not on a blog, anyway. So, this is a slight departure for me, although I will be talking little bit about advertising and social media, so perhaps it’ll be worth sticking with from a reading point of view?
Here’s the backstory: The Conservative government in the UK are instigating the biggest changes in social services ever committed by a political party since the “Welfare State” was first created. It’s generally accepted by 95% of the UK’s population that these changes unfairly penalise the poorest members of society, while the PR machine seems to suggest it’s because the country is in debt and scroungers/immigrants are taking all our tax revenues.
The point is this: there are fundamental changes to the system of social support and those changes are unpopular with just about everyone except, perhaps, the 5% of the UK who are either rich, ill-informed or part of the Conservative/LibDem coalition cabinet. (And yes, I realise the latter could be either of the previous two, or both).
The thing is, what’s being done about it?
According to my experience (which I acknowledge is not that in-depth), people are mostly ReTweeting links to Guardian newspaper articles. Or using hashtags to demonstrate their opposition to what’s happening.
And very little else.
A lot of people I follow are from the advertising industry – or associated disciplines. I’m not going to unfairly call any particular person out, but we’re all guilty of being lazy activists. Myself included.
Wouldn’t it be better if we, as a collective bunch of people for whom selling ideas, branding movements and – stop sniggering at the back – engaging the public on social platforms is a day job, actually did something? Maybe did something tangible, such as rebrand the opposition (they certainly need it); or create a campaign of our own. Or organise a protest – for those not old enough, we used to take to the streets to display our dissatisfaction with policy; heck, we used to destroy stuff to make our point.
It seems it’s easier to sit in our mortgaged properties, eating our Waitrose food and clicking a button to tell other middle-class people how disturbed we are. And if they want to know how disturbed we feel, well, they’ll have to read the story themselves and imagine our ire.
So I reiterate: wouldn’t it be better if we actually did something tangible?
I’m up for it. Who knows, it might actually make a difference.
I won’t be getting all ‘political’ in the future. Similar points were made about how much use social media was during the Arab Spring and other revolutions, humanitarian crises and so forth. I just wanted to make the point that splurging out links to newspaper articles doesn’t actually do a lot, and with the skills of the people I personally see spreading the word via Twitter, I think applying some of those skills would have more of an impact.