That passionate artery of mine was flowing freely as I received my invite along with thousands of others this week. I became part of yet another Obama inspired online movement: The Citizen’s Briefing Book.
Actually, intending just to sit down and edit my manuscript, I committed the cardinal crime: I checked my email first. There it was, an invitation from Valerie Jarrett asking us to contribute ideas for President-elect Obama. Much like going to the grocery store hungry, this invitation fed me unlike past ones sent to Obama supporters since the election. Without hesitating, I jumped in with the others that evening, voting on ideas for the president elect like filling my grocery basket, hoping each of my choices would make it into the book of ideas from us, his loyal supporters because this Citizen’s Briefing Book will be given to him to read.
How could I also make a statement that would encourage votes for my idea so it would make it into this book that that our future President Obama would read? With ravenous furvor, I typed a proposal that has been at the forefront of my thoughts for years as well as the main inspiration for the book I am writing. In fulfilled haste, I proofread my idea for our next president and sent it off into cyberspace with the thousands of other worthy ideas, watching with baited breath to see what happened.
To my surprise, negative votes and posted comments started rolling in. Flush with concern, I realized instantly the error was in my word choice. In the end, there was a (negative)-320 points with 14 posted comments. I had used the word ‘mandate’, where I should have used ‘campaign’. This error contorted my message and inspired a call to action in the form of inflammatory comments and negative votes.
Curious as to what would happen if the wording was changed ever so slightly, I clarifyied my proposal by replacing the word ‘mandate’ with ‘campaign’, and shifted the title’s wording somewhat.
Without the word ‘mandate’, this revised idea gained positive votes slowly but surely, yet prompted no comments. In the end, it had a (positive)+490 points with only 1 comment.
What does this prove? Yes, anger does inspire action more than just a great idea. A vote was easier than a vote with another step to write a comment, but if you were angry about the possibility of something you didn’t like becoming a reality, you jumped into action. In the end, the reception of my idea was positive and helped me find the pulse on how to communicate ideas more effectively.
As a postscript, I might just entertain the idea to inflame when I want to inspire a call to action; negative publicity really does work. (Kidding, I think.) Perhaps this is why so many of us came out in full force when John McCain picked Sarah Palin for his VP.
What was my idea?
“Prevent Diabetes Where it Starts!”
Beginning with a massive ‘campaign’ to encourage and support all mothers to breastfeed their babies exclusively for at least six months, thereby reducing the propensity towards obesity with infant formulas made with high fructose corn syrup, etc.
To read the entire idea, go to: http://citizensbriefingbook.change.gov/ideas/viewIdea.apexp?id=087800000004wI6&srPos=0&srKp=087
Let’s see if it makes it into the Citizen’s Briefing Book to President Obama. For the sake of our country, our health care system, and our children, I hope so!