Saturday, 17 September 2011

Social Opinion Vs. Public Opinion

With a Provincial election coming up, lots of people are watching social streams in order to gauge public opinion on a wide variety of subjects.  But similarly to Toronto's last municipal election, what the social opinion in our various networks happens to be and what the reality of how the majority of voters may act, may not in fact, be the same thing.

It's an important to remember as we collectively utilized social data and user comments to drive everything from product development to marketing approaches, that it is only a mere 10% to 15% that like to comment within the social sphere and that they do not necessarily represent the other 90%.

Social opinion does not automagically equal public opinion - and assuming that it is, may end up being a mistake.  

Change Doesn't Just Happen

I sometimes let my frustrations get the better of me.

Today I made a rather offhand remark about a start-up having a lack of diversity - in their case - no women other than the office manager. It's not a revelation. They are one company of many including Google that I've noticed this with.

The comment was off subject and didn't really contribute anything to the conversation that everyone was having which is when I know that something else is bubbling with me.

Here's the thing.

Change doesn't just happen.

I know there are many in the tech world who are bored of the whole change the ratio thing. That people who do conferences don't want us counting how many women presenters there are or how few women are on the sr. executive teams of start-ups.

But change doesn't just happen.

I see the eyes rolling and i hear people when they say, we don't see gender. And, I actually believe that they don't.

But here's the thing - change doesn't just happen.

And i'm sure as some people say, there are fewer women in UX or wanting to go to a start-up environment. That may also be true.

Equally true, change doesn't just happen. 

Active involvement and participation creates change. Deciding you are going to stop being annoyed and start contributing to solutions creates change. Maybe that means you should start looking at diversity across all your hires and challenge yourself to do better. Maybe you should create a program - get a intern or hire someone who wouldn't normally get the chance or have the connections to get a job in our industry.

But if we don't actively make it happen, it will never change. And i just can't stand the thought of that.

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