Eleven years ago, the BBC announced plans to encrypt all of its free-to-air digital TV channels. The technology world was aghast!
I saw thousands of Tweets from hundreds of people, angry blog posts, mailing lists erupting with fury. There may even have been a petition. The regulator, Ofcom, announced an enquiry and solicited for feedback.
Despite all the retweeting & blogging, only 90 people bothered to respond to Ofcom's consultation on BBC encryption http://bit.ly/3cbk1u
— Terence Eden (@edent) October 30, 2009
That original link has long since died. You can view the list on Archive.org. You can also read my (badly written) objection.
In the end, we won. But it was so disappointing to see that not even a hundred people could be bothered to fill in a questionnaire about why they were upset. I’m sure dozens of similar decisions have gone the “wrong” way, because people won’t engage with the system.
What If They Gave a War and Nobody Came?
So much rage and venom is shouted. But it is all just sound and fury signifying nothing.
- Venting on Twitter might make you feel better – but it changes nothing.
- Signing a petition – is easily ignored.
- Criticising people trying to improve things – just demoralises them.
Perhaps – just perhaps – your moaning in a blog post might change someone’s mind. But what does that achieve unless it also makes them take action.
I see this all the time.
80% of success is showing up. It is painfully true. You only get to change the direction of travel if you’re in the room where decisions are made.
Get out there. Join that committee, respond to that consultation, take that job, work with/for people you disagree with – and make a noise about the positive impact you’re having!
Coda – Privilege
Not everyone has the time or energy to spend on writing eloquent responses. Attaching your name to a controversial cause can be unsafe. And, yeah, sometimes the process is deliberately obscure or confounding.
Coda – Effectiveness
It doesn’t always work.