The jury’s still out as to how effective petitions really are. For the most part, petitions on sites like Change.org and Avazz.org are more symbolic than anything else. They show that there is massive support for or resistance against something, but bringing a petition to policy makers isn’t usually enough to change a law alone. I still think it’s worth it to sign a petition for two reasons—one, it’s just so easy to do. You have nothing to lose by telling FedEx you want them to stop shipping shark fins in their deliveries, for example. Two, I really do believe that combined with other efforts, petitions can put enough pressure on an issue to effect real and lasting change. This is one area of life I’m a total optimist in. (And I mean, don’t we have to be? Look at how much there is to do!)
Splendor Field encourages you to stand by issues important to you by wearing them on your clothes.
If you’re like me, and sign petitions in hopes to in some small part create positive change, you’ve probably wondered what else you can do after pressing submit. Today we have a few ideas!
1. Share it on social media. People like to think that posting a Facebook status about important issues is doing little more than logging a semi-public complaint, but having managed social media accounts for blogs + businesses for a few years now, I know that it does have power. All those viral stories you’ve seen? Only because some person you’ve never heard of uploaded a post about it, just like you. Also, when you share it on social media and a friend likes it, at least a handful of their friends will see that they ‘liked’ it, and so on. Sites like Change.org will actually tell you when your link referred someone—it’s pretty cool to know that something you posted got someone else to sign. I really like the idea that something I posted encouraged another person to take the time to read about a particular issue, and feel compelled to act, at least in some small way, because of it. Yay!
2. Share it in person. Usually when I sign a petition, it’s because I’ve read and become passionate about an issue. Why wouldn’t I continue the conversation beyond the computer? If something about a story sticks out to you, make it a point to share it with someone you talk to that day. Then they can look into the issue more themselves, and you’ve shared something they otherwise might not know. Or, if they do know about it, they might even be able suggest more ways to help.
3. Research the issue further. Speaking of knowing even more, petitions provide pretty general overviews on a subject. They have quick summaries in hopes you’ll not only care, but want to learn how to get involved. Being armed with knowledge on a subject only makes it easier for you to increase its visibility, hopefully resulting in the right people with the right resources finding it. If the point of your signing a petition was to increase awareness, this next step is pretty important.
4. Bring it to a policymaker’s attention. Sure it’s a reach, but writing a letter, making a phone call, or tweeting even, could bring it to the attention of someone who has the power to help. This is another quick act that may seem minute in the grand scheme of things, but that combined with lots of other efforts, could set a wave in motion. I’ve heard so many people talk about how difficult it is for us everyday people to enact change (which doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try—more on that later) but that the important thing is to get issues in the hands of the people in power. No matter your stance on a single person’s ability to make a difference, this is one thing we can all do!
5. Write about it. Lifestyle bloggers have major influence. I think because they often write about everyday things that don’t seem life altering, like outfits and recipes, it feels pretty out of place to bring up some huge discussion on a social or environmental issue. From an editorial standpoint, I totally see the argument here. But no matter what type of blogger you are, or if you publish your work in some other form, if there’s any part of you that does want to use your influence to inform readers of something you truly care about, it can be done respectfully and tastefully… And get those views, too.
Do you sign petitions online? What are your thoughts about doing so?