Follow OneAirSpace on Twitter Subscribe to the OneAirSpace RSS feed

Thursday, February 17, 2010

Those Darn Dissidents; How to Respond

Known as a relatively liberal newspaper, The New York Times had a stream of Facebook responses bashing the Republican Tea Party following the paper's post of its expose': Tea Party Movement Lights Fuse for Rebellion on Right - . Many responses were entertaining and educational; such as the post in which fun was made of the current day Tea-Partiers who seemingly do not know the history of the original Tea Party, but are quite interested in whether Americans speak English. (Ironic since the original protest was against the British government from which English was imported to the U.S.) And there was plenty of criticism about the education and capabilities of Tea Party members. No surprise coming from a New York Times crowd.

The shocker was when one uber-educated, Georgetown and Oberlin, Facebooker gave credence to the Party. Although also identifying with the liberal crowd, his post went without response for a long spell in Facebook time.
Eric Hochstein
This is an important article which describes clearly the thinking behind, and positioning of, a growing "movement" in the US which has the potential of creating unprecedented regression in the US. These people are passionate, though misguided, committed, though misinformed, and driven, though going backwards. Their vision of America is from decades past, and without awareness of the significant changes which are taking place - with or without our approval and direction - and which we must recognize and deal with, not avoid and ignore. They want an America in a dream world that will never reappear. Yikes.


Mr. Hochstein's suggestion was to evaluate the Tea Party realistically and then respond. What? Not ignore those who disagree with us? That's the American way isn't it? It might be, but it's not the best way.

When people, and especially people in organizations, do not know how to effectively deal with dissident thought, behavior and organization, they make by far one of the biggest mistakes in organizational life.

My research on participant entry (engagement) in two-way communication *  revealed a stunning result: dissidents have something to say and given the opportunity; will voice an opinion - even if their contribution might reach the critiqued organization.

So how do we "deal with," as Mr. Hochstein writes, "misguided" foes?

1. Recognize that our opposition has something to contribute whether we like what or how they say it.

2. Take a note from Katie Paine,, who on a recent Twitter post said it simply, "Goals drive metrics." By reminding ourselves of our organizational goals, which should include ways to build constituent support (building our base), we may also find ways to reinforce our resources.

3. The hardest step of all - listen to what the opposition has to say ... even if we think it's garbage. We might be surprised by what we find out, such as another tidbit I learned from my survey: some people are just angry because they feel disenfranchised from the norm. Why not bring outsiders into the fold or adjust the fold to fit them in? Organizational adaptation, which is different from conceding, is key to success.

Finally, if we don't offer a platform to our opposition, someone else will, and as the New York Times article indicates, that platform might be very public.

*For my University of Minnesota graduate school thesis, Dialogic Communication and Participant Entry, © 2009.

Comment from reader:
"You're right. Listen to the conservatives, understand their motivations, for that's the only way to get into their minds. I like what you have so far for a webpage. Keep it up. I'm proud of you for striving to make a change one mind at a time."

Please use the contact form to comment on this article.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Your feedback is valuable to me. Contact me

OneAirSpace BlogCalls to Action in Communication CampaignsNon-profit organizers and for-profit marketers are tasked with essentially the same thing: deliver calls to action (CTAs) that not only influence, but ultimately adjust your consituents' or customers' behavior to your end goal.Mobile MarketingSo "mobile marketing" and guerilla marketing utilize fundamental marketing tactics - go to where people are (it helps to have wheels) and talk to them about what you have to offer in a way that's enticing. These days that's with joy, relevance and authenticity. The Art of ListeningMy young son came home from school and told me he needed privacy to meditate. I figured he was making an excuse to play Legos.PR v Marketing Who's Winning Online? Part 2 - The Obama BrandCandidate Obama had a good online integrated communication strategy. President Obama, however, shows what happens when marketing strategies are employed at a greater level than PR. PR v Marketing - Who's Winning Online? Part 1If looked at simply: ~Public Relations = building relationships & loyalty (with a brand) ~Marketing = moving toward action; sales (of a brand)The Power of Two-Way CommunicationDelta Air Lines flight attendants, will soon be voting on whether they want to have a union represent them to Delta management. The stakes are high and the impact of the election's outcome could be significant for the American union movement.Operational Tactic #1Listen. That's what the majority of presenters at the eMarketing Association's conference this spring said was the most important action an organization should do online.Lessons from a Boundary SpannerIn the age of partnerships and collaboration the boundary spanner, people who straddle the needs of their organization and the needs of their organization's constituencies, is ever more valuable and always has been.Those Darn Dissidents - How to Respond Known as a relatively liberal newspaper, The New York Times had a stream of Facebook responses bashing the Republican Tea Party following the paper's post of its expose': Tea Party Movement Lights Fuse for Rebellion on Right - .
Copyright © 2013 by OneAirSpace. All rights reserved.
Contact | Site Map