Thursday, 2 October 2014

#The45Plus Culture: Don't Blame me... Blame Politics

As the war of words rages on with the Independence debate this post asks if it's time to mix the #VoteYes and #VoteNo teams up? Or at the very least set some ground rules as we look forward? Is it time to put the past behind us...Is it possible to look forward to the opportunities that the renewed activism and sense of Scottish pride the referendum has provided? 

Can we use this activism to benefit our towns regardless of political allegiances,  or even if people are not "all that political" today, despite everyone having an opinion on politics a week ago. Ultimately, can we all come together to "Do good while having fun?

Have you considered the difference between the atmosphere of pre-Indyref and afterwards? The shared identity and optimism around a shared goal for the #VoteYes camp Vs the "Yes camp" criticising  #VoteNo for a negative campaign? Have you noticed the tone of #VoteYes since the vote? 

Or what about the difference in #VoteYes people's tone towards others online compared with in real life? Online you'd think that there was blood on the street (Just like the media were suggesting pre-Indyref, but was non-existent). But in Glasgow I see both camps cohabiting quite fine... or at least a lot better than online. Why is this? Is it because, as I highlighted in yesterdays post, Culture Matters: Giving it a Sporting chance

Team Scotland
Regardless of our differences, I'm sure that even our warring politicians can agree that we all support Team Scotland. In fact they already have agreed on this point! Gordon Brown highlighted this on the eve of the referendum;

"And let us tell, and let us tell also those people who have been told unfairly by the nationalists that, if you vote No, you're a less than patriotic Scot. Tell them this is our Scotland. Tell them that Scotland does not belong to the SNP. Scotland does not belong to the Yes campaign. Scotland does not belong to any politician – Mr Salmon, Mr Swinney, me, or any other politician – Scotland belongs to all of us. And let us, let us, let us tell the nationalists this is not their flag, their country, their culture, their streets. This is everyone’s flag, everyone’s country, everyone's culture and everyone’s street.

Picking up on Nass's comments he observes that, despite the obvious divide between fans and players, “we” can all bask in the success of what “we” achieved.

We can perhaps get a sense of the impact that sport and a shared sense of identity can have with a fragmented society through London's example.

In August 2011 London and the UK was a society fragmented by race and class divisions with the London riots and the Occupy Movement. 12 months later the nation seemed to put these differences to one side and come together celebrate the shared aspects of national identity. Nass discusses some valuable lessons that we can learn from sport for work place culture;

“Of course the greater the number of identifying characteristics that the group can find, the more powerful the identification and the resultant bonding. Organised sports leagues understand this: teams offer fans the opportunity to wear unique colours; laugh at the unique mascot; perform unique gestures; sing unique song and wear unique apparel” 

All of these things are evident at events like the Referendum, Commonwealth Games and Scotland Internationals, these same traits can be found both in the workplace and in education. But the question is... can they be used to achieve a sense of unity and shared goals with the Yes/No camps?

I think that, if there is the will, it most definitely can! People make up any community, whether online or the towns we live in. What are we going to makes these town post referendum? A town that uses this activism to allow division and political squabbling to thrive? Or using it to do some good while having fun?

Then & Now: #VoteYes + #VoteNo = A BIG "Yes" for Scotland?

Yes Campaign
In the run up to the referendum there were knowing nods of approval to say "We're part of the same tribe" or "We're on the same team" the impact of this is significant.

What if"Yes" wasn't a voting preference
But a mindset?"Yes" Glasgow!
John Dovidio set up an experiment where groups of friends were on the way to a football match and saw someone fall and twist their ankle. What would you do? Would you help? Or would it depend on the T-Shirt they were wearing? The results of this experiment was that people helped;

92% of the time when the person wore same T-Shirt as fans 

70% of the time when the person wore the teams arch rivals shirt 

33% of the time when the person wore a plain T-Shirt.

"Yes" Culture
As I have highlighted in my last 2 posts the culture with this #The45Plus needs to change. We need to work on the "Nework Effects and Positive Feedback loops" and change the rhetoric on Social Media. Here are some suggestions.

Inclusive: Including all Groups
#IndyRef doesn't own "Yes"
But Scotland is associated with it
Why would people want to get involved with and collaborate on any project, which includes "the opposing camp." How about some of these reasons
  • Political - To win over people to increase the number of votes. At 45/55% every vote will count. "No, Thanks" isn't exactly inspiring, and "Yes Scotland" is a strong brand. It may be in Better Together's interests to change and/or become a part of this brand.
  • Volunteering - Increases happiness, life satisfaction and self esteem. (Kathleen Vohs study)
  • Economic - We know what the "Yes" camp is capable with the Sunday Herald. And I know how Twitter can be used to create jobs. Can we help business and create jobs with this?
  • Fun - Who wouldn't want to have fun while doing good... good for what or who? What have we all got in common? Where we live might be a good place to start?
#The45Plus & Yes Branding 
I remember reading "Horrible Histories: Bloody Scotland" to my kids and being surprised at some of the things that we did not invent that we are famous for today. National identities are forged to give a sense of unity and are usually not done so until there has been a "good stooshie."

Remember Braveheart? Or The Massacre of Glencoe? There was as much fighting amongst the Clans as much as with England. So is #The45Plus any different?

The #VoteYes & #VoteNo camps sure have had "a good stooshie". Both camps also started to come together on #The45Plus hashtag until the politicians started to get up to what they do best and their "Divide and Conquer" tactics
No Fun. The Rhetoric of Politicians.
"Don't blame me"

The #Indyref has provided a legacy of energised activists, could #The45Plus and "Yes" brands evolve into a mindset of: 

#The45Plus: Anyone who is committed to political reform and social justice in Scotland, and is prepared to actively get involved?

"Yes" Brand: This is a positive message and while no one Owns the rights to a "Yes Attitude," it has become strongly associated with Scotland. Therefore what if, instead of the "Yes" campaign material meaning #VoteYes, it remains in use to become Say "Yes" to Scotland: Yes to our towns... Yes to doing what we can to improve tourism, supporting local businesses, to showcasing our good nature and wit to the wider world.

Surely this is better than the lingering "I voted Yes," you didn't... You're a "bawbag" and I'm not. Because, my #Indyref friends that's the culture that will evolve if you don't cultivate it. Don't believe me? Well, may as well join in... don't blame me, because I warned you! Don't blame me, I voted "Yes" will grow and will start to "stick" soon if it's not redirected.

We've seen how sport can bring people together and this weekend we have The Great Scottish run, is this a good place to mix all this Yes/No stuff up a little?
First slide
This weekend will it be The Great Scottish Run?
Or  is it The Great "Don't Blame me I Voted Yes" Run?
Mix the Teams Up a Little... Nodding Village People? 
Anyone with me on this? What could we do to change the culture? Make it fun. Build friendly rivalries? Make sure it only takes a minute? Here are 3 suggestions that will only take a moment.

First we mix the teams up like you did at school if a team was getting hammered. So we get #VoteYes & #VoteNo people join forces. How? Scotland becomes a Global village and we the village people...Promote your town in one of two ways;

1) Get everyone you know to follow your local "Yes" and/or tourist board Twitter and Facebook accounts. Prizes for the Town with the most followers.

2) You and your friends give us a big Y as in YMCA of your faviourite places in your town.

Sounds naff right? (Worked well for Clyde during Commonwealth Games). Well when your creating a positive culture you need to "Fake it til you make it" if you don't believe me just ask Amy Cuddy

Your Body Language Shapes who You Are and whether you WERE #VoteYes people who were not huge fans of the #VoteNo people or whether you WERE someone who said #NoThanks. It's time to change that negative mindset and say "Yes."

If anyone says Yes to Scotland and Yes to changing the mindset and culture of #The45Plus, you know where to find me. I'll be on the "Yes" side of the #The45Plus... The side thinking of ways of "Doing Good while Having Fun"
Say "Yes" to your Town? That's just silly!
That may be Darth Labour Lady... But it's also Fun to stay here!

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