Friday, 7 September 2018

An Open Letter to Ian Blackford... And Delcara

In this post I hope to demonstrate how digital transformation has both changed the world of politics and how pace of the political landscape and the nature of campaigning has changed... Perhaps in Scotland more than anywhere.

Through looking at the rear view mirror - unfortunately for all concerned - I highlight what I feel "Could be" for the SNP, the Scottish Government and Declara, instead of "What is" at the moment.

The good news? Instead of trying to be heard I've already modeled what I would do if I was involved in politics... or education and had any influence.

I wonder if Ian Blackford and Declara wished they'd taken the time to listen to me a couple of years ago if/when they read this?

The Wild West in Social Media
It's a week when Facebook, Twitter and Google were summoned to the US Senate Intelligence Committee with threats to expect new laws to "End the era of the Wild West in Social Media"

Meanwhile back in Scotland politicians and policy makers were told to get their act together because of Scotland's 'stagnant economy'

As I wrap up all thing EdTech Stories it might be worth the "Good and the Great" taking a look at my latest article looking at "The Wild West of Social Media" through the eyes of the Toy Story characters: Tech Story 2: The Wild West of the Internet

Scotland's economic geniuses might also be interested to know that the reason I hit 'publish' on my first ever blog post in 2012 was with the suggestion that more collaboration is needed to today's big problems like the economy and education.

This post is an attempt to show "What is... What Could've been... and what Could be," unfortunately I agree with Ian Blackford

"Scotland's Voice has not been heard"

That does not just apply to my attempts to be heard... It was written all over the 2014 #IndyRef movement... and the SNP only heard what they wanted to.

9-18th Sept 2014
On the 9th Sept I detailed how, where and why my blog was going to get political about education, it was because of the CULTURAL conditions of the 2014 #IndyRef campaign... Where things that would not otherwise be easily achieved could be: ie 'Unslumming' deprived areas with the SNP's shiny new 100,000 members and activists.

The atmosphere of the public rallies were extremely special... however, the political types that I'd chatted to on social media suggested I go to a Yes Alliance IndyRef/SNP meeting.

I went to one - mainly to try to tell someone about the "Network Effects" and "Feedback Loops" that I'd recognised with my exploration of how ideas get traction and what I noticed with #IndyRef

This was the first sign of the arrogance that I saw for the next few years. Anyone I spoke to didn't listen and I lasted 10 minutes before leaving.

The meeting was what I imagine the tribal (Not in a good way) atmosphere is like at an England V Scotland, Celtic V Rangers match (Never been to either)... or what the neurenburg rallies were like.

It was militant! It's our way of thinking and ideas... or else! This is the culture that prevailed from 2014-present...but didn't need to be the case!

19th Sept 2014
On the 19th September the school run was the same as any day of the week in Scotland in 2018... It was super depressing.

But for 3 weeks before 19th Sept 2014 Glasgow was what I imagine the late 1990s must have been like in Silicon Valley... Everyone talking about tech, shares and startups and all the bright hopes for the future.

The only difference was that instead of tech, shares and startups... people were talking about politics and Scotland's future as an Independent Nation.

There was not a place in the land that you could escape the chat... buses, coffee shops, workplaces, the media.

The morning of the 19th Sept 2014 was depressing. The majority got what they wanted but there was the same kind of depressing silence that would go on to dominate 2017 and 2018 on the buses, coffee shops and (probably) workplaces... the air of depressing defeat.

On the morning of this day I wrote this Yes Scotland - How Can We Help post asking

"Is the best yet to come?" 

I wasn't wrong!

#NewPower Storm
In this post I will use terminology that, until a few months ago, was not a part of my vocabulary.

I knew my insights were accurate at the time, but didn't have the words or case studies to detail what I was talking about.

Obviously people continued to chat about #IndyRef after the vote throughout the day.... Then in the evening a #NewPower storm was brewing and a 'swarm' was created where the 'connected connectors' where trying to guide the #IndyRef #VoteYes narrative... JUST LIKE New Power highlights that US counter terrorism is now doing with Schools and Church leaders.

As the #IndyRef #VoteYes camp started to condemn the #NoThanks voters when the BNP came to town to 'celebrate' the result by having a riot... There were a few of us trying to co-ordinate things via Twitter DMs by saying

"Let's try to keep the message positive and upbeat..." 
(when they go low, we go high and all that jazz)

20th-22nd Sept 2014
This crisis from the #NoThanks camp was a real opportunity for the SNP/Yes Alliance and created the post-VoteYes movement, the 45% of the people who voted for Scottish Independence known as #The45 then #The45Plus.

This weekend... This weekend RIGHT THERE... The 20-22nd Sept is IMHO the source of A LOT of the SNP's problems at today.

I tried to speak to anyone and everyone I could at the SNP to let them know this at the time.The message?

That the 70+ "YesScotland" Twitter accounts send a message saying "This is who the post #VoteYes movement is and this is how we will share our 'One Scotland' and/or 'Hope over fear' message"

During the campaign the SNP had taken their online support and brought it offline into rallies and the "Network Effects" and "Feedback Loops" were BUZZING!

The #VoteYes humour was fantastic, personally I must have spent AT LEAST 2 hours a day at this national water cooler... Not because of Politics. Not because of #IndyRef... but because it was FUN!

Everyone was aligned with what Tribal Leadership calls a 'Nobel Cause' - Independence - and good humour and good deeds was among the unwritten 'core values.'

During the 20-22nd the SNP/Yes Alliance needed to set the post vote tone by coming out and saying "This is who we are now... One Scotland is XYZ" they could have taken this further and set an example by saying

"We've set up a crowd fund for good causes and encourage out 100,000 members to contribute to this and keep the chat on social media productive"

This was missing.

So, like the Alt Right etc has done in the US on Reddit... where there is a void some random former Socialist MSP saw an opportunity and took it.

"Hope over fear" let's boycott this brand and boycott that newspaper etc etc. Here's one of the posts on this topic written at the time: The45+ Where Did it All Go Wrong

If you want to see how people fall into social norms once the culture is set... go see how #GE2015 #Team56 MPs reacted to the Daily Record when they got to Westminster... they fanned the 'Boycott flames' instead of leading the fire fighting when they should have.

28th Sept 2014 Sept
HOWEVER... As I highlight in another post at the time Achieving the Impossible these Network Effects and Feedback Loops are seriously powerful

"This post includes information as to why I would advise that, based on Technology sales and roll out principles, Labour and the Conservatives should just pack up and go now, and why a second referendum appears to be inevitable

[Other parties] task now is like Yahoo Vs Google, My Space Vs Facebook... ie you had your chance and you blew it. If you want to get Alex Salmond style popularity, stop off at Newcastle and declare the North East free from Westminster and you'll be the peoples' champion too"

6th May 2015

In my 
Freakonimic Politics post I reiterated the message above and provided a summary of everything I'd seen during the 2014 IndyRef and how, why and where it made SNP Domination Inevitable

8th May 2015
In Sept 2014 I saw the result of GE2015.

But two days after this record result, I spotted something VERY concerning... Stage 1 of Decline hubris... That same hubris that would go on to affect the SNP during #GE2017

Who'd have thought that a photo under the Forth Rail Bridge and changing #The45Plus to #Team56 (AKA It's now all about us and not them... the people who helped us get here, and continued all the way to Alex Salmond's Crowdfunder) could tell so much?

Weekend after GE2017: Never mind the 1.6 million who got us here, we're #Team56 Now
The first party to make it genuinely all about "Them" AKA Us,"The Little People" will do rather well.

Tribal Leadership, Hug Your Haters, Zombie Loyalists, The Well, New Power... all books that will help, all books that I've highlighted in the past... Perhaps I should put a spin on the First Minister's Reading Challenge... SNP MPs: READ THOSE BOOKS. Lol

Here's the post I wrote after the local elections on 10th June 2017 suggesting that #Team56 might face some problems... Including data that suggested that Mr Salmond could lose his seat.

Stage 1: Hubris 2015
Stage 2: The Undisciplined Pursuit for More (The announcement of #IndyRef2/#ScotRef in March 2017)
Stage 3: Denial of Risk (The local election results on the 4th May 2017 and dismissing the result by other parties)

Not totally sure if Alex Salmond's crowd funder would count as stage 4... But I sure can tell you that mishandling Sept 2018 may well see Stage 5 and #IndyRef2 decimated for a generation during #GE2022 - Written before Scotland's 'Stagnant Economy,' Gambling capital and a host of other bad news was in the press...Man! It's all SO depressing!!
2015... A Good Year! What Could've Been?
2015 was a good year for me! Progress was being made!
  • Silicon Valley Hot Shot Startup Lady Ramona Peirson and Former Microsoft Vice President James Stanbridge see the value in my ideas
  • Chris van der Kuyl says that "Education Lacks Leadership" and "Educators need to collaborate more at the Scottish Learning Festival"
  • The then Education Secretary asks me to reach out to my PLN to help with some of her work
  • As a result of these projects I connect with the Digital Citizenship Summit Founders
  • I discuss how and why Declara could help the SNP with the next phase of social media through a conversation with Ian Blackford
All sounds great! Most of these orgs had their "Core Values" on their websites - one of the first things I looked for before collaborating with anyone - but most turned out to be cat posters (but that's another story entirely!)

Only one of the people above, in my experience and opinion, had any integrity at all and ACTUALLY took the time to listen... their loss, as well as mine I guess. 

What Is... What Could Be...
"You have the power to change the world... you really do! With an idea" Nancy Duarte

I don't talk or write great... The communications gets garbled somehow, so I have to detail what "Could Be" if I had been listened to.

This is all fine. I've learnt to deal with it. I worked at one org for 10 years... Excelled in every role. I observed and raised the alarm 12 months before hand to my Managing Director

"Your heading the wrong way with your decisions... you're slipping down Jim Collins "5 Stages of Decline" 

I was ignored and a year later? Major downsizing and redundancies... Just like the SNP in 2017, and their downsizing may not be finished yet. 

So I've since learned that it's easier to just go ahead and show people what I mean... it's quicker, easier and less frustrating than trying to tell people. #BeTheDigitalChange and all that #DigCitSummit Bull shit!

But you do have to stop and wonder if you'd be heard if you were the son of a politician, banker or been one of their old school buddies in their fancy ass schools. 

What Could Be: SNP
So in 2015, after reading Kate Hefner's book "The Well" I spotted where Social Media was headed and had a conversation with Ian Blackford and set up a Declara Collection for him with all the 'Good News' stories I could find about him (The collection I created has since been deleted).

What was my suggestion about this collection and space?

That he and other MPs use the Declara "Team" space as a place for him to spit ball ideas with his campaign volunteers.

That they highlight their fav 140 character 'Insights' from articles in the collections... and that other MP/MSPs do likewise.

The reason? I saw the 140 character politics coming a mile off... something Trump uses to good effect.

"The future belongs to the best editors" Jason Fried The Class I'd Like to Teach

If you want an idea of what this might have looked like... 

Imagine my Community Management Resources Declara Collection was your good news stories and my highlighted, easily tweeted 'insights' were from you support base... you should get the idea. 

What would be the purpose of this? Well if/when any bad news like... just for arguments sake, a sexual harassment scandal with a prominent member of the party was to break, then the SNP supporters could 'swarm' social media with all the good news stories.

Empowering the 15-30 core members in a private space for the #The45/#IndyRef2 fans to further amplify, could have had an impact.

"The art of turning someone else's crisis into your opportunity is far from new, but the new skill is doing it in an age when the opportunity to mobilize a crowd comes and goes in minutes. The American cookie brand Oreo understood this when a power outage in the stadium caused lights to go out for more than 30 mins during the 2013 Superbowl. Oreo struck quickly, tweeting a picture of a lonely well lit Oreo and the caption 

"You can still dunk in the dark"

The tweet went viral, 'won the superbowl,' and became the stuff of legends in marketing circles. Often left out of the story is the fact that Oreo had a 15 person team at the ready during the game for exactly this kind of rapid response. 

We don't all have Oreo's resources, but its handiwork reminds us that storm chasing requires infrastructure to do well. Anyone building a crowd should be on the look out for storms that might galvanize their base, and be prepared to act on them within minutes or hours, when the need is greatest and people's emotional response is at its peak. Many old organisations take days just to cobble together a press release. But organisations now need to be set up to move faster, to soak up the energy in the moment and turn that into new supporters. Byzantine bureaucracies requiring multiple sign offs aren't the right tools for storm chasing.New Power

And where are the experts saying that social media is heading today? 

Small 'Communities of Practice' with 15 people - Just like Buurtzorg is doing? 

What Could Be: Declara
"I just wish we had 15 people who were fans of Declara like you are" Declara Exec when I was an uber fan in 2015

Well in 2015, the SNP had the network effects and feedback loops that could have populated the site.

One mistake that I made here was, as a Peter Theil Silicon Valley startup with $50million in investment, I thought this hot shot startup would know everything I knew about startups and community building that I, a random sales person from Glasgow, did.

However, this was not the case.

If they had listened? Given the way that social media is heading the same way today that the early online communities did... Like The SNP, they could have been ahead of the curve here too.

"We need your help with the 2017 US elections" Declara's CEO to me in 2016/7, if they'd listened to my ideas about what I knew about community building and where things were headed... they might be in a better position today.

What Could Be: Scottish Education
This is a little too sore to discuss. I feel for the SNP and #IndyRef movement, I really do! 

Like the "Invisible Children" case study it's easy to criticize about what went wrong... but, as this stuff if new and mistakes will be made, you can learn a lot from what went right and ask:

Where are we now? 
How will Social Media evolve?
How can we get ahead of the curve?

Something that could have been done and dusted in 2-4 months I've wasted 4 years on a fools errand. 

I listened to all voices to find the challenges and potential solutions... Planed meticulously, but I don't have influence and struggle to be heard at the organisation that I work at and have a good track record.

So this Scot's voice being heard is not the Forte of one of the many JAMs living in Ian Blackford's Scotland I'm afraid.

The reason I started this blog was because I felt I had a story to tell. The post itself is garbled but the conclusion is the same as this one (And is in line with the report about Scotland's Economy for all parties to get their act together).

I have not deviated from this task in the last 5 years since joining social media. But I have not been heard by the good and the great and am out of time. 

Earlier this week I passed the details onto people who I hope can take this forward. 

Re my own mistakes... Among the biggest include:

1) Working with people who said one thing about core values and their mission, but them being full of shit

2) Not having a voice. Not being an 'Influencer' who could stand up at the Scottish Learning Festival and simply say "Collaborate More" and leave it at that... Don't put any hustle in... just sit and watch anyone who tries.

John Swinney has made suggestions that I think were correct... Including the P1 tests, Empowering Educators and Heads having more autonomy... Shame he didn't have the community building skills to pull it all off. Perhaps a bit like the SNP and #GE2022? ;)

What Could Be: #DigCitSummit
The two points above can be seen nowhere better that with the DigCitSummit. 
The early days of social media is full of takers and fakers, but as Why Good People Turn Bad Online highlights social media 2.0 will find them out, eject them from projects and more collaboration... so that less takers will be involved to take advantage.

I've found that people who advocate on social media for "Safe. Savvy. Ethical" Digital Citizenship and calls for people to "Be the same person you are online as you are offline" but don't practice what they preach.

The impact of all this? As Adam Grant highlights these takers make it less likely for the truly collaborative people to have any interest in collaborating in the future.

Is this the reason that adoption of social media with educators has stalled a little? The data suggests there's something in the argument.

But whether politics, education or social media the #RedditRevolt Vs Reddit Place shows us that these spaces evolve and grow up... leaving the petulant children behind to spew their bile and spit their dummy out in someone else's space... with No Asshole (And I'd add no Drama Alice) rules.

Politics, like the High Street, like the stupid cold calling telesales roles and door to door sales jobs that the DWP website promotes for minimum wage (Or commission only) for the JAMs in Scotland's many deprived areas - will be gone.

In 2022 I wonder how many people will have "No Cold Callers/Canvassers - Except for the SNP" signs in the window? Or will the writing be on the wall? 

And the reason? All because of the events in Sept 2018... All because 

Scotland's Voice Has Not Been Heard 

...By the SNP. Blaming others for 11+ Years elections does not win.

The Future of Politics?
When passing this information onto others this week... I have not told people what they could be doing. I've modeled it!
  • I've highlighted that High Impact/Low Cost ideas can make a difference... I've seen what a Skype with Tech executives and educators elsewhere can make with our young, and old, people alike!
  • I've demonstrated that smaller communities of practice is where it's at
  • I've actually put some hustle into the fine speeches that people gave at Edu & FELTAG events
  • I've continued to reach out to people in my PLN and encouraged eductors to collaborate more
  • Through #IndyRef I feel I've done a better job in demonstrating it's New Power Vs the pundits
  • I've shown the extent that - even the jobless, now homeless - have something to contribute
  • I've shown what can happen if politicians just start giving a shit
The day after the record #GE2015 #Team56 result I sat down and wrote "Ideas for 2016/19 Candidates," today I see that not only were the insights accurate but, through New Power, can name how, where and why they were accurate.

The winners of #GE2022? They'll be the ones that go out and campaign today and start making a difference to their constituents.

The consequences of failing to do this? Go ask Margaret Ferrier... a drop in the number of votes of 2%... but 10% increase for Ged Killen, a return to old voting habits... until something better comes along

Need a National example? Just ask the 2008 #TooBigToFail but 2017 "Should've let them fail Bank Bailing Vince Cable... His party won't recover from that one. The solution for the 2010 king makers and the Conservative coalition? "Hey Labour... Let's be friends, come and join our toxic brand"

Compare that with Nike's ad campaign with Colin Kaepernick. Yep you heard me correct... Just watch what happens there with that one from a political perspective... If it all works out, it will be inspired!!

Back in the UK #IndyRef, UKIP, Brexit, Corbyn's socialism... It's nothing to do with these issues, it's about people wanting to see change... for the better, not just the elites in politics and banking.

I know three politicians who have given a shit to some degree or another... I already know how I'll be voting in GE2022.

I wonder if the MSP/MPs who feel they know the "Scottish People" and their constituents can say the same?

I wonder if their constituents will feel the same as they do on the day?

Don't be surprised if there's a shock or two in store for those who rely on traditional campaigning and the traditional polls in the run up to the next election. 

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