Brexit & political communication

Two recent blog posts by Rajit drawing on lesson from the Brexit referendum:

Experts, framing & communication

In addition to the disconnect between the cultural and economic elites in life experiences, there is another reason for this development. Disintermediation means that issues are no longer exclusively framed by experts or the mainstream media. People now have access to multiple sources of information that independently either reinforce their existing cognitive framework or influences them to adopt a new one.

The implication are significant. If an issue (such as free trade or mass migration) is being processed through one frame, a parade of experts offering counter arguments will not change that. Top down and prescriptive communication tactics are becoming less effective. Campaigners need to re-evaluate what constitutes effective content and the channels through which it is communicated.

Media gatekeeping & campaigning

Not only are the options available to organisations to bypass the gatekeepers and communicate directly with the audience far more powerful, there is also a proliferation of information sources. These can be new media such as digital only news providers, powerful individual influencers or the audience members own social networks (e.g. friends and family). It should be noted that the relative weightage given to each news source does have demographic differentiations.

However, for a broad based campaign, the implications of this change in gatekeeping is that not only the content presented have to change but as I’ve written previously, the media mix that a campaign has to deploy is more diverse and complex.


Priming and political messaging

In other words, it’s not enough for an ad simply to be clever or have good visuals. It also has to connect with the audience at a time when voters are primed to pay attention to the message.

The use of “primed” in this article caught my attention. It ties into an earlier post about “agenda setting” in political communication. I wrote there about the media’s role in agenda setting for Trump. Priming is closely linked to agenda setting, though the exact relationship is not always clearly defined.  As a useful examination of political messaging and an interesting intellectual exercise, I’ve applied the two concepts using the “Quotes” ad example in the article.

Agenda setting is the starting point. It crucial to understand here that the media do not tell us what to think, but rather what to think about.  This provides a context for public discussion of an issue, setting the stage for audience understanding, both at conscious and subconscious level.  For a political message such as the one described in article to be effective, there has to be an effective agenda setting process in place. In this case, one that conveys the idea that Trump is “anti-women”.

Read More on Rajit’s blog >

Agenda Setting in Trump’s Triumph

night-television-tv-theme-machinesA note about one of the many things that struck me while observing the Republican primaries. I thought it an interesting exercise to evaluate this using the agenda setting marketing theory.

Agenda-setting theory describes the “ability [of the news media] to influence the salience of topics on the public agenda.”

Using this, it is apparent that  media’s overwhelming coverage of the Trump campaign acted to prime the electorate to be open to his messaging. This is consistent with the role of the media in an agenda setting context. They did not tell the voters what to think about Trump. Rather, by talking about his attributes, they directed a receptive primary voter audience to Trump and his messaging.

Read more on Rajit’s blog >

#sm4devngov: Sri Lanka Social Media

Last week I had the privilege of speaking about the social media landscape in Sri Lanka at an event organised by Information and Communication Technology Agency of Sri Lanka (ICTA) as part of a series workshops held with the UN APCICT.  The sessions were tremendously interesting and some of the content can be seen online via this Twitter hashtag – #sm4devngov.

My presentation was an analysis on the the current social media landscape in Sri Lanka, with an overview of trends and developments.

The audience was made up of senior officials and heads of departments from the public sector. Through the presentation, I was emphasising the growth and vibrancy of social media in Sri Lanka and the need for the public sector to reach out to it.


Top social media stories of the global refugee crisis

Inspired by a recent BBC article about how photos of a dead 3-year-old Syrian boy resulted in a huge social media outcry and changed the face of the conversation around refugee migrants, we took a wider look at the interaction between international refugee crisis’ and social media. Some of our most interesting findings are as follows:

  • Organisations such as UNHCR are leveraging social media and SMS technology to communicate with refugees in a Jordanian camp.
  • Some organisations have published guidelines on how to use social media to help with the refugee crisis e.g. Canadian Council for Refugees, Refugee Week
  • In 2009, “America’s Giving Challenge” was launched on Facebook’s Causes which gave individual agencies and organisations 30 days to gain the most individual donors for a grand final cash prize. UNHCR used this opportunity to fundraise for displaced Somalis.
  • Tweetathons are also popular – for World Refugee Day in 2011 for example, USA for UNHCR held a tweetathon as part of its overall Blue Key Campaign, which asks Americans to purchase a symbolic Blue Key pin or pendant to show their support for refugees worldwide.

Continue reading Top social media stories of the global refugee crisis