‘One small step for man….’

I recently read an interesting article about individual responses to environmental change.  The main thrust of the piece centred on the fact that steps taken by one person can lead others to do the same.  The author termed it ‘viral social change’ and it seems to me that this is probably the biggest influencer of people’s behaviour in all manner of things.  It’s the modern version of ‘lead by example’ but this current change relies more on peer leadership than anything else.  This is quite noticeable already in the online communities where peer advice and recommendation influences membership, but to me this is an important part of human behaviour for voluntary and community organisations to embrace and encourage; not only does it influence current behaviour, but it can drive future trends as well.  Have you ever noticed that if one ‘leader’ voices an opinion, it soon becomes that of their ‘followers’?  Viral social change can be used to influence attitudes (towards class and socio-economic status, ethnicity, risk, immigrants amongst others), and actions (volunteering, ethical living, use of technology) and can, without being too clichéd, change the world.  In the words of Anita Roddick: ‘if you think you are too small to be effective, you have never been to bed with a mosquito’

 

 

Last updated at 13:15 Thu 27/Jan/11.
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