Don't preach to the choir
Amongst political interweb types is a phenomenon known as the ‘echo chamber’. This is where a tribe of people get very excited tweeting, blogging and facebook-status-updating about an issue within their tribe, but all the retweeting, linking and liking is completely within that community. The message is crafted and refined for the audience who has already ‘got it’, rather than for people who are unaware, uninterested, or both. Despite the perceptions of the participants that the flurry of activity is of huge importance, it has absolutely zero impact on the wider world.
The environmental movement can be particularly guilty of this. Issues go into the echo chamber evolve and are reinforced, but rarely does anyone wade into the argument as devil’s advocate, challenging the received wisdom, and the message starts going over the heads of anyone outside the circle. In fact you often get a meta layer of discussion of increasing self-righteousness, deriding those who “don’t get it” and alienating the masses in the process.
If you want to change something – anything – whether in society or an organisation, this is suicide.
From a green business point of view, I have seen environmental committees where the agenda kept getting sidelined in favour of rants and moans about everyone else in the organisation who “doesn’t get it”. This is utterly dysfunctional and self-indulgent. If you’re the change agent then you’ve got to realise that this is your problem, not theirs. You need to stop preaching to the choir and engage with (not preach to) the masses. This is a whole different ball game, with different language, different communication channels and different tactics.
So don’t let an echo chamber form. Challenge others and challenge yourself: what is the message that will appeal to the masses?