Twitter ye not…not

Podcast From KnowHowNonProfit

Ian Bruce

Brian Lamb is the executive director of advocacy and policy at the RNID and the author of NCVO’s Good Campaigns Guide, which maps out effective tools to increase the quality and the evaluation of campaigning. Within RNID, Brian has had overall responsibility for driving forward the work on awareness of the dangers of loud noise, including the award winning ‘Don’t Lose the Music’ campaign aimed at younger people and those working in the entertainment and music industry. Here he explains what he think makes an effective campaign.

Brian Lamb, RNID

I think it’s something that captures the imagination, I think it’s something that’s got flair and passion. I think passion’s vastly underestimated still, in campaigning. You’ve got to have the technique but you’ve actually got to pull people to your issue – because there’s hundreds of issues out there and yours has got to stand out. And yours has got to motivate decision makers to make them feel that this is the one that they’ve got to address.

I think what you have to remember, whether you’re a big or a small campaign, the kind of steps you ought to be taking is focusing ruthlessly on what is the key thing you need to achieve and who can really make that difference for you. And look to how you can use the language of the people that you’re campaigning against, to put it into their terms, so they can understand what you’re looking for. And I think if you do that, you will always present a very effective case to those you’re lobbying against.

I think campaigning is changing massively at the moment, because the more people become disillusioned with traditional parties and traditional ways of influencing, the more and more they’re going to charities and to campaigning organisations to get the democratic voice they feel they’re not getting through the system. We’ve seen an explosion in the last ten years of community national base campaigns taking on large issues and creating the political weather, where political parties are simply now just responding to what’s going on in civil society.

I think what’s interesting is everybody keeps talking about the internet and Twitter and social networking, and that’s very important. But it’s amazing how much people are going back to traditional grass-roots methods of giving people a sense of community, a place to go and people to relate to. You look at a lot of the successful campaigns that are getting media attention – it’s actually about bringing people together in a way that, again, political parties are often not. It’s then knowing how to use the media and to do that with flair and do things differently that actually attracts attention. And again I think it’s the novelty that people can bring, as well as the passion, that often makes the difference and makes particular campaigns stand out.

Prompted Questions for Brian Lamb

How did you become a campaigner? What got you started?

What are the key components of a good campaign?

Is there ever a “one-size-fits-all” approach?

What is your view of Hacan’s campaigning?

Where do you think people make mistakes?

Can you give me some examples of some good campaigns?

Where do you see our campaigners of the future?

How do you see the future of campaigns? (online/mobile phones/etc..)

Do you think the internet will become an effective campaigning platform? Or is there too much junk cluttering the internet distracting the audience away from the important stuff?

What grabbed my attention is this bit:

I think campaigning is changing massively at the moment, because the more people become disillusioned with traditional parties and traditional ways of influencing, the more and more they’re going to charities and to campaigning organisations to get the democratic voice they feel they’re not getting through the system.

Democratic voice? Although I have not made representations to RNID, I have seen plenty of complaints online and through 1st hand, within the deaf rank and file community, that they are not getting that democratic voice. Are they going to change their position at any time soon? Or do we need to do it ourselves?

We’ve seen an explosion in the last ten years of community national base campaigns taking on large issues and creating the political weather, where political parties are simply now just responding to what’s going on in civil society.

Are we missing a trick here? Should there be more groups/organisations to work alongside BDA? For example, a campaign for accessible health programs rolled out on national scale i.e. stop smoking group or drug/alcohol group. I would rather engage with a deaf-led self-help group than attend a mainstream group with an interpreter as I do not want my deafness to be centre of attention when I do attend. BSL announcement about Swine flu is all great but what is happening on the local levels? I only found out because I am able to use the internet effectively and got my feelers out. Are the Whitehall’s civil servant mandarins ensuring the information are reaching the right audience?

I think what’s interesting is everybody keeps talking about the internet and Twitter and social networking, and that’s very important.

Is Twitter really the future? While it is fun and digestible, I am still unconvinced – despite the hype.