Abandoning the idea of winning people over? On the internet? What is this heresy!
One of the heralded values of the internet is the freedom of speech and thought and self expression on it, but what is the point of self-expression if no one is going to be convinced?
We need, as individuals and “content creators” (however small scale that is; your Facebook status is miniature “content”) to adjust our goals.
If we cannot convince people on purpose to do their research, what can we do?
We can build it, so that “they will come”… when, or even if, they finally decide they want to learn.
We can push harder, and risk pushing people away; either new audiences or people who already know us. Is losing real-life relationships an effective way to push a political agenda?
We can trick people, with clever satire and trolling, and walk a very fine line balancing humour, criticism, and our own political integrity.
We could even unplug! Ruin our personal relationships, and find new people to attempt to influence, even though this adds more physical and organisational demands than before.
Ultimately, is the answer to give up on the “convincing” angle at all?
Content of any kind only works if people come to it, and they only come if they can be entertained or stimulated. The people who don’t want to be challenged aren’t going to read your amazing article about obesity in fat acceptance, even if they are the ones who need it most.*
People won’t be told. If someone shows you who they are, believe them.
We need to find ways to meet people where they are, instead of trying to draw them over to “our side” like we’re cartoon villains. Whoever you are and whatever side of the political spectrum you are, it appears content works best when it relates to pre-existing interests. Fighting is hugely inefficient, and people generally stay within their filters, even if they “shouldn’t”.
With that in mind, my future posts are going to be about meeting people where they are, and solving the problems that they are already interested in. What other realistic or effective route is there?
I’m going to keep these next few posts light on information and heavy on relating to the problems so many of us have that social justice can solve. Look out for next week, when I’m going to be meeting; then solving the problems with Diet Culture.
See you there!
*The link of course being to a young woman who recovered through body positivity, I’m using this to follow my intuitive logic that body positivity is the healthy opposite of weight-related eating disorders.