Last week I attended a meeting that had some interesting conversation sprout. It was with a light touch but with an angle of seriousness to it that I cannot ignore. I know a few people who do not vote, and some who vow to never ever vote in their lifetime, until something drastic, or tragic triggers them. We have seen on television some citizen burning their voting cards, or tossing them to a river because they did not trust the results announced. They felt betrayed by the authorities running the elections. While such emotion and decision is justified, I mean with competitive elections being emotive; it is in itself a bigger tragedy to abscond your responsibility as a voter.
I think of it in terms of parenthood, or clansman-ship. It’s pretty much like a parent ignoring their responsibility over a child who is disabled because they are not what they desired. It is much like a spouse who disowns, or embarrassed to be seen or identify with their other ‘better’ half for the scars they have from a fire they survived. It is like a teacher being embarrassed in a forum because one of their students didn’t deliver at a congressional competition, and such. How so? All these characters are stuck with what they have and it is within their reach and capability to realize acceptance, to make a change within themselves, a change that in a larger scheme of things, replicated will bring the change we all want to see.
Yes it is frustrating when you are a constituent of Makadara watching your Member of Parliament on TV clobbering metal doors and gates with his bare knuckles… It is O.K. to feel your vote went to the dogs, but the probability that he will survive another election with you choosing to abscond is higher than if you did brave the disgust and just picked someone ‘more suitable’… an exercise that lasts not longer than an hour factoring in queues and the lateness of the polling officers of course.
In the same meeting, some sentiments were raised that appealed to my interests. Whether on Twitter, on Facebook, on LinkedIn or even just SMS, what impact do you create as a responsible citizen in getting out views, information and opinion? I come from a school of thought where I believe we are our own biggest influencers. We have the power to change anything to what we want it to be. Eliminating hate speech and using the tools at our disposal to communicate something to those who trust us, to those who think we are sane enough to say something constructive. ‘Fearless influencer’ is a term I learnt from Mavuno Church through a course I did a while back. I will pick it and try build some message that maybe someone else is already doing or what someone is waiting for to do something.
Sean ‘Diddy’ Combs started a concept called ‘Vote or Die’ sometime in 2003/4 to help create awareness among young Americans; a personal effort that won over a few other celebrities and sent many young eligible voters registering. The impact of young American’s in the 2008 elections cannot be ignored. Not all of have the power and the money Mr. Combs has but we have a tool that can reach out to someone, if consciously built and disseminated. As a blogger, when you write about Android, fashion, politics, business…sex whatever… is there possibility to look beyond what the subject is and probably see what it can become? Can the technology you write about send a message a little further, can you code something that can pull crowds towards such purpose?
Just saying… We all can make a change, complain less and build some more.
can you be a fearless influencer?
Till then, Cheers!