Social Change and its nomenclature
I caught something on facebook the other day - someone being congratulatory about some friend's work which was exemplary "positive social change". Which is fine, social change is not something that's a bad thing, certainly.
But this whole enterprise of "social change" has to be better. The deployment of it, probably has a lot of room for improvement, I think. In fact, peering into the language of social change and how it's described is pretty indicative about some of its attributes I take issue with.
Here are two examples:
But, that's so reckless to talk about change. Change has no focus as a term. Change is something that you have to control. Change is a directionless word. To think about doing change seems like it would suggest that doing stuff, for the sake of doing stuff is advantageous, and conceptually sound.
But in my experience, change is really, really hard. It takes a ton of preparation and lots of investment. It takes a LOT of leadership / engagement and never happens for the sake of happening. So, don't focus on change - focus on a goal or outcome. Focus on a behavior. Not just change itself...focusing on change itself makes me think the social agent attempting to "change" things probably doesn't really know what they are talking about.
So to summarize - and this message goes to social change agents - get some plans together and set some goals. Kindly articulate the value you intend to create in the community. Don't hide behind the idea of "social change" and pretend like everyone should support the activities you're attempting because it sounds sweet. Think it through a little more.