What Jolts You Awake?

You know the afternoon slump just after lunch when you’re sitting at your desk, your mind starts drifting, and you’re thinking of getting that second cup of a highly caffeinated beverage?

It’s ok. You’re still technically on your lunch break and not due to dig back into work for another ten minutes, so no need to feel guilty.

Well, what could make you sit bolt upright in your seat and snap you wide awake? In other words, what really blows your mind?

It might be an article on the alleged chemical attacks outside Damascus.

Or it might be an urgent appeal email like the one from Amnesty asking people to call for the release of 74-year-old human rights defender Kyaw Hla Aung, arbitrarily detained in Myanmar since 15 July for peaceful activities.

Or a blog or website that talks about human rights activist Filep Karma, who is serving 15 years in prison for raising a symbolic Papuan flag during a peaceful ceremony in Indonesia.

I’d like to think it would be one of the above injustices. Because, if you haven’t noticed already, that’s my thing; that’s what outrages me and motivates me to take action.

However, at the same time, of course I understand that our minds drift to the other parts of our lives: shopping for a new handbag, a trailer for a movie, an advertisement for a holiday in the Galapagos Islands. My mind does too; we all need a break sometimes. We can also learn a lot from the way many of these businesses capture our attention online.

In either case — whether it’s an urgent email action from a human rights group or an advertisement for shoes — it makes a huge difference how the content is presented, given what we are bombarded with online all day.

I’m insanely interested in finding the most effective way to reach people, or you, in the hope that you will also take some kind of action. I’m interested in what content on a website, or in a blog or email you would be most likely to connect with, especially if it lets you see something in a new way, or there’s that little spark where you say, wow, that is really inspiring; that’s fantastic!

Messages from organizations have to get through the necessary filters that we put up in order to weed our way out of this information overload. In many ways, the Internet has made it easier for organizations to spread their message, but it has also become increasingly more difficult for that message to get through.

So what’s the best way to grab your attention? In other words, how should organizations tell their story? What strategies and tactics can be used to get that message to stand out in a noisy, unfiltered online world? What resonates with you and causes you to take action? And why? That’s what I’m interested in exploring.


Once your message resonates with people, you can inspire someone to take action and start affecting change.

If you’re out there reading, let me know I’m reaching you in the comments below.

One Thought on “What Jolts You Awake?

  1. Looking forward to reading more from you.

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