Search This Blog

CCE in brief

My photo
Recovering backpacker, Cornwallite at heart, political enthusiast, catalyst, writer, husband, father, community volunteer, unabashedly proud Canadian. Every hyperlink connects to something related directly or thematically to that which is highlighted.

Friday 9 November 2012

Warren's Where's Waldo Method of Engagement

I can't imagine Warren Kinsella is a big fan of Carly Rae Jepsen, being a punk and all - but he clearly understands the value of a catchy meme.  He has started to roll out endorsements for the Ontario Liberal Leadership Candidate he supports (can you find who it is in the picture above?) but instead of just feeding his audience names and title that might not have meaning for them, he's challenging his readers to identify who the endorsers are themselves.  This accomplishes four things:
1) It engages readers in his candidate; figuring out who backs that person becomes a viral campaign, creating a community of engagement around them
2) It motivates his audience to take the lead in identifying the supporters, ensuring everyone has a chance to know who they are...
3) ... but as that information is crowd-sourced, the information comes from the community rather than being delivered to them by the campaign itself.  This adds an automatic level of accessibility and authenticity to the endorsements that biased political staff would be hard-pressed to achieve on their own
4) Letting the crowd do the work and handing out gold stars to those who find the info first builds competition, which gets people more active, but it also rewards the experience of participation with a dopamine rush, the same sort of thrill you get from winning at bingo (but also the same neurochemistry that can get you hooked on slot machines)
Of course, there's a whole science to this; someone with an NLP background or even a rudimentary knowledge of how cognition works can tell you why people react this way.  With a bit of practice, it's not difficult to proactively shape those responses by managing the stimuli your audience receives, creating the sort of community experience you're looking for.  Kinsella's great at doing this in person - he'll engage crowds directly within the first moments of a presentation, getting them to clap for themselves, etc. to make his talks their experience, not just his.
There's nothing new to these tricks of the engagement trade.  Religion has done this for agesGreat artists or speakers (like politicians) use these tools to their advantage all the time.  Conversely, poor leaders do the reverse - instead of creating communities of experience, they block external stimuli and trigger fear rather than engagement.  These are the cultists, setting themselves up as saviours from troubles lapping at shores and holding you to that fear and dependence on their protection, trying to foster a kind of crowd Stockhom Syndrome.
What's perhaps more recent a phenomenon is the internalization of these techniques through things like Positive Psychology and Cognitive Behavioural Therapy.  These sorts of practices work kind of how exercise or yoga does, except from the inside out rather than the outside in.  These conscious exercises provide effective methods to manage emotional disorders or to overcome duress (though not always in exclusion).  When you become aware of how your own neuropsychology works, you begin to see how external and internal conditions shape your mood and thoughts the same way any drug would.  That's when they become your tools to use, rather than someone else's to abuse.
Of course, all of this requires a lot of thought, time and discipline.  Why bother?  Wading into the fine print of brain function is boring.  You get a decent rush from playing the game right in front of you and besides, consequences are things that happen to others
Keeping track of where Waldo's at is enough to keep anyone occupied and entertained.

No comments:

Post a Comment