Friday, 15 August 2014

Saving scarves and other noble things.

I am going to say this once: I'm not great at making change. I'm not an activist. I care about the world and the organisations I am part of. I'm happy to put forward my ideas and opinions, but at the end of the day, I'm one person who holds one person's ideas and opinions. And that is where the problem lie.

There are a few reason why the good ones burn out, and I have thought about this a lot lately. Is it because they care too much? Most of the time I'd suggest yes, that's the problem. But I'm talking about good ones here, and most of us are, well, kind of ordinary, and that's where the problems start.

So, I guess I can talk about this, and if not, I'll come back and change this blog. 

I'm part of a Facebook group who is calling for a change to Guide uniform policy. But, well, and I mean this in the nicest way, it's not going the way the page creators hope.

Expectations: a public forum in which members from the organisation could discuss and campaign how to bring back a Guiding tradition - scarves.

Reality: it's a social media page which surveys members using Facebook polls and encourages debate, but Affirmative and Negative really don't see eye to eye.

*le sigh

For the record, I love the idea of scarves. They look cute and awesome, but also they make a lot of sense. But I really don't know if a Facebook page is the best way to go about it. Firstly, it's Facebook. FB is just one social media platform. It's a very popular one and a lot of our members use it regularly, so it is probably a great choice to encourage discussion. However, no one is going to comment on such a page if they are declaring something public on behalf of the organization. It's not that there aren't State and National Facebook profiles, but they are very much about publicity and encouraging people to use social media to promote Guiding.

Secondly, a number of people who 'like' a page and random surveys of people (such as 'I asked 20 people if they knew who Girl Guides was still around, and they said no because they don't have scarves') is not a way to bring change to an organization. That's interesting data, but not incredibly useful, or credible.

Thirdly, and most importantly, it isn't the way to create change. Change can come from such things, that's true. It is a good starting or reference point, but if we aren't writing to  people who help implement change, what good are we doing? Change doesn't happen because of idle talk, it happens because we influence the influencers.

I said something about the good ones. The good ones are often the people who engage in conversations such as this one and say things like 'bring this up in a forum that's appropriate'. And I'd love to say that I came up with this idea myself, but I didn't. In the last 20 months I have heard so many similar conversations and one of my mentors said of a similar discussion 'nothing's going to change if you don't approach someone and discuss it with them'. It was then that I realised that my problem I have had all this time has little to do with the topics being discussed and a lot with the way the discussion is run. And so, I say - I like scarves a lot. And I'll be happy to stand with someone to campaign for them back. But I don't think I can handle being a broken record (or being on repeat for that matter.)