Public policy conflicts abound. We often get involved in fights over public policy, whether they relate to forests, energy policies, trade and taxes, agricultural laws, wild animals, land zoning, ocean cleanliness, and more. As humans, this is what we do. At GUILD Consulting, we help people create constructive feedback and conversations that eliminate conflict and promote problem solving.
This task is infinitely harder than it was a decade ago. This is partly due of two growing trends that seem to be intersecting: social media usage and a decline in public institutions. If you take a high-level look, the challenge of getting to healthier collaboration is more difficult due to conflicting information online, and the ease in which negative information can be shared.
The National Science Foundation, Pew Research Center, and others have noted said trends. And from a business perspective (or a local one), they’re worth looking into. Confidence in government has dropped, not just in the United States, but in all Western countries. Government institutions aren’t immune. Meanwhile, trust in churches, universities, schools, and research groups, has also continued to plummet.
At the exact same time, the rise of social media amplifies public disagreements. Project proponents have started using social media to advance their causes — this information usually shows up without warning or asking on the topic on Facebook Twitter, texts, e-mails, Instagram, Snapchat, and more. The goal of each post is to gain attention and persuasion. They say: “Look at this big cause. This is why you should believe us.”
On the other side of the spectrum, opponents of each cause do the same; they use social media to gather and convince sympathizers. Jan Tenbruggencate, a Hawaiʻian writer wrote:
Social media is a powerful force.
It’s is a growing new reality to the modern cause. It creates viral images and narratives that work against efforts to strive together for solutions. A question for exploration is how do we use social media when we are trying to build new collaborative discussions on very hard topics?
We welcome your ideas. Our Partners at GUILD Consulting will be happy to talk to you about leveraging trends for social media in public policy. Email us at [email protected] or call (808) 729-5850.