Use Your Social Networks
One of the most important ways in which you can change what's happening in our country is by talking with people you know. Telling others is a very important action. In a world in which people are bombarded with messages all the time—commercial, political, and entertaining—it is hard for anyone to focus and sort out what’s important. One of the mental short cuts we all use is to listen more attentively to messages from someone we know personally. Further, since the well-organized right-wing message machine tends to dominate mass communication channels and public discourse, it’s even more important that people hear what’s really going on from a source they can trust—a person with whom they can identify, who knows what’s going on.
You can help spread progressive values and ideas through contacts with your own family, friends, work colleagues, and even casual acquaintances. Social networks are among the most powerful influences on people’s beliefs, values, and behaviors. Their impact has been documented in circumstances ranging from smoking cessation to fashion to criminal behavior. Most important from our standpoint is how social networks can influence political behavior. Read our work on social networks [link to Social Networks topic items through the Archives page]to get some ideas of the possibilities.
Develop Political Conversation Skills
If you are facing a particular challenge in talking about political matters, check out Ask Kate! She’s our resident expert. We offer suggestions of websites from which you can obtain talking points for political conversation.
Talk to Groups
It may seem obvious, but it’s worth remembering that word-of-mouth influence can also be exercised in group settings, by steering a conversation onto the topic of unbalanced news and the need for other opinions, other ways for people to express their concerns and be heard by those in power, or by bringing up specific political topics.. If you’re comfortable with public speaking, you might even want to give a talk about these topics to groups. If you’d like some specific tips, Ask Kate!
Write articles for magazines, organizational newsletters, and opinion pieces and letters to the editor for newspapers.
Use Online Discussion Groups and Blogs
Post comments to online discussion groups in which you participate. Write a note in your blog (web log) or a comment on someone else's blog. Here [link to video of Barry Kendall speaking at the Century Club, in Archives] are some tips to help you appreciate the power of blogs and get you started in using them to advance your progressive values and ideas.
Take Advantage of Talk Radio
If you have a point of view, call in on talk radio shows. Once you’re on the air, you don’t have to limit your remarks to the specific topic of the show. Your comments can address the general imbalance in the ideas presented (if there is such an imbalance), or the bullying style of some talk show hosts and guests, or the misleading methods used by certain conservatives to advance their agenda.
Share Your Successes
We encourage you to be creative and alert for opportunities to be influential. If you have a particular success in this effort, share your experience with us. We would appreciate hearing about what worked for you, so we in turn can let others know.