Get Shouty

Everyday activism
October 27, 2007, 7:34 am
Filed under: Get Activist, Get Friendly


The commitment to implement change everyday is quite a challenge.

One of the things I’m attempting to overcome is the use of the word ‘consumer’ :Stop calling me a consumer. I am a person a Facbook group started by Adam Crow.

Stop calling me a consumer. I am a person.

Stop calling them consumers. They are people

Give it a go- it’s quite difficult. 

Recently I was asked to define what kind of activist I am, and what my philosophy is…so here we go:

I am a practicing activist. To me this means everyday action. I believe in doing what you can with what you’ve got. I believe in knowing your karma footprint, addressing it and keeping it in check as much as you can, when you can.

I take personal responsibility in trying to make this place a little better every tomorrow. Because it makes me feel good. Because its fun. I have a lot of karma credits to make up!

If you’re at all interested Ed Cotton has started an initiative from the Planing for Good group PFG City Groups- Making it Fun and Easy:

1. We want to create PFG groups in as many cities as we can
2. Each city will have a leader who organizes coffee mornings – 30/40 minute brainstorms over a brief that happen once a month
3. The ideas generated are then sent inIt’s a good way to meet people and do good at the same time.Let Ed know if you want to lead a city or be part of a group, it’s an option. It’s still possible to contribute your own thinking and work with others outside these mornings. All we need is your name, your city and if you want to lead or participate.

This group has already done some great things. Check out Planning For Good- Ideas for the Idea Village-New Orleans

Emily has been kind enough to chair a Sydney group and there are quite a few tippy top types who have already put their hands up- so please, if you think you have great ideas, or want to contribute to something outside of your 9-5 (or 7-9 as it usually seems!) please send Ed a note.


9 Comments so far
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[…] Get Shouty – Everyday activism “I am a practicing activist. To me this means everyday action. I take personal responsibility in trying to make this place a little better every tomorrow. Because it makes me feel good. Because its fun. I have a lot of karma credits to make up!” (tags: stopcallingmeaconsumer activism planning ethics people ac) […]

Pingback by Adam Crowe - links for 2007-10-28

Wait a minute -I thought we were co-chairs! Partners in crime. Or, you know, the opposite of crime.

Comment by Emily

I’m going to be heading up PFG in Beijing if anybody wants to get in touch. 🙂

Comment by Charles Frith

Adam- I have never been more impressed with a job title in my life! A Synaptic Tactician just sounds amazing and thanks for the resources section on your blog (everyone great essays here:

Emily- I’d share a chair with you any day.

Charles- I didn’t know you are in Beijing. Nice one on the PFG front.

Comment by katiechatfield

This is a fantastic post, sharing it this afternoon with my own readers. Love the idea, going to be working on this but it certainly won’t be easy.

Comment by Jon Burg

What’s wrong with using the word consumer??!
The problem is that consumers aren’t what they once were. Marketers are saying the word “consumer” and referring to the consumer of 10-30 years ago. But if you use the word to mean the consumer of today it implies that consumers aren’t objects, but people in a symbiotic relationship who want to buy into your product/brand and expect something in return.
I do understand that you mean the essence of the word but, with the majority of marketers out there, if they exchange the word “consumer” for “person” it really will just be a different smell.

Comment by Wisey

The Lovely Lady from the Digestif, thanks for adding your voice.
I’m convinced that words have power. We work in an industry that creates highly nuanced communications and can endlessly discuss the emotional impact of that shade of blue, that genre of music or which of a multitude of synonyms best brings the response we’re after in a tag line.
I don’t believe that the word consumer does imply a symbiotic relationship. I think that it’s a good discipline to understand who you are talking to- the word ‘consumer’ can mean that you don’t dig deeper into potential new relationships (you are only looking at people who buy the product.)
Unless you examine and build insight into people, and what intangible brand assets might draw people to the brand, you just might be missing out on opportunities.

It is also easier to dehumanise the word consumer. David Armano has a great post about this:

When is a person more than just a person? If you want to design for people, don’t be afraid to “label” them. When used correctly, labels clarify and add context.

Labels help. They tell us what is important and what takes priority. Labels help us remember what’s important.

Comment by katiechatfield

I’m still not sold. Words do have power, I’m just finding that in our world of today, definitions continually change.

I’m also finding there is a constant flow of emerging buzz words which try to make the world easier to digest, but in fact they add more confusion to the marketplace.

In a way, I think marketing has become simpler. My concept of a consumer falls under a general shell of “a human being who seeks value in their life”. This value can be through one or a combination of product/service/facility/utility which changes depending on each case/advertiser/brief. The definition for the consumer (or potential consumer) drills down to the specific for each case.

It makes sense to me, but I think it’s time I made a diagram.

Comment by Wisey

Wisey- would love to see your chart!

Comment by katiechatfield

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