Voting day has come and gone — and I sincerely hope you were in the poll lines making your voice heard. Some thoughts on the election:
- Your citizenship doesn't end here, you did a great duty by casting your vote – but this is only the first step in the ongoing Democratic process.
Whether you are thrilled or bummed about last night's 2008 election outcome, you still must push forward in ensuring that our elected officials (both national and local) keep their word. You voted for them because you want them to DO something, so make sure they do it. Here's how:
- Maplight – follow special interest groups and how their relationships shape the political landscape
- Follow the Money – learn how political donations are shaping your State's public policy
- Sunlight Foundation projects – a collection of very strong projects dedicated to political transparency
- Congresspedia – do your research and add your knowledge
- Open Secrets – watch issues that matter the most to you
- Project Vote-Smart – a voter's self defense system (for the next time around)
- Consider what we have learned from Obama's successful campaign strategy (and check out this amazing AdAge article on it) – who's messaging can be broken down into: Simplicity / Consistency / Relevance.
"Better" never works in marketing. The only thing that works in marketing is "different." When you're different, you can pre-empt the concept in consumers' minds so your competitors can never take it away from you.
How can you shift your own personal or corporate battlefields? What new and positive changes are you focusing your efforts and creativity on? It doesn't matter how much you love or hate Obama, from this point forward what you do, embrace and fight for is in your own hands – quit your bitching and DO something.
- I know I already said this, but quit your bitching. Quit your hand wringing. Quit your trash talking. Do something. Be informed (= turn off Fox news and actually find real, reliable and unbiased sources) and DO SOMETHING.
I recommend reading Influencer – a book focused on helping tenacious minds make change happen. Even audacious, pie-in-the-sky, 'there is no way this will ever freaking happen' kind of change. Among many great points, Influencer recommends those wanting to influence on a large scale:
- Diagnose before your prescribe – you might hate something (a policy, a social issue) so terribly that you never even get to the root of the problem. Your emotions get in the way of your brain – and there's no way to incur real change or improvement if all you do is shout, seethe and whine about it.
You are intelligent and have phenomenal problem solving capabilities. Know exactly why the things you despise or fight against are happening. Then work from there.
- Make change inevitable – determine vital behaviors that drive big change (and recovery behaviors when things don't work out immediately), try every single influence strategy you can and set mini-goals to help you keep the pace up. When something works, know exactly how and why it worked and apply it to your next relevant problem.
- Promote and amplify positive deviance – I adore the 'Well behaved women seldom make history' quote (by Laura Ulrich I believe?). Find like-minded people who have the courage to Just Do It, even if it means acting against the norm. Little changes matter and grow into big, life-altering, society-saving change (like the now eradicated Guinea Worm Disease).
The point behind 'positive deviance' is NOT to just act against social norms because you want to go against the grain or be a rebel. That's called high school and very few people want to go back there. The point is to MINDFULLY and TACTICALLY identify what the majority could be doing better to reach certain objectives and then lead them there through your action, education and promotion – no matter how small or 'unusual' you might feel at the time.
If you missed it, here is Obama's acceptance speech (which was streamed live online via cell phone on Ustream):