Don’t Panic Mr Mainwaring
It is almost three years to the day since I attended an e-safety session for parents at my daughter’s school, who was 10 at the time. As a total novice to the online world I found it fascinating but equally scary. Sitting downstairs while your child is potentially being groomed in the security of their bedroom was simply a frightening prospect. I am now hugely embarrassed to admit my raised eyebrow when the discussion moved to the damage caused by a need for likes, comments and reactions. Surely not. Don’t allow yourself to be so shallow. And clearly shallow I have become! As a recent poster on LinkedIn, I have become obsessed with how many views for each post I get, how many reactions, and if anyone shares my post. I tell myself it is about understanding the data, understanding a new audience, knowing how to deliver messages about disability which people will understand, etc. Of course some of that might be true but I also need to get a grip. Or as the e-safety tutor said, ‘there is a need for common sense and resilience’.
Over the past few weeks myself and the Purple team have needed resilience in bucket loads as we were locked in a rollercoaster in the run up to Purple Tuesday. We crept in just before the second lockdown although it was surreal being back in London which has become a ghost town. The pre-recorded Sky News interview was never shown – a national broadcaster is crucial for media exposure – due to the Vienna terrorist attack the preceding evening. The torrential rain on the morning as we drove in had just about abated by 8 am. And the videographer struggling to get parked 8 minutes before we live streamed the big reveal at Piccadilly Lights.
But yet it happened. Purple Tuesday got a bigger audience (up 51%) than the previous year. More organisations participated. More commitments to improve the disabled customer experience were made than ever. The profile of online accessibility, and its importance, has finally come through. And the feeling is Purple Tuesday is now seen as a 365-day activity and not merely a one-day awareness celebration. As Pike once famously said: “Don’t panic Mr Mainwaring”.
For me, personally, I have drawn heavily on the insights of Marcus Child and his five fibres of resilience. At its heart is the need for spiritual; having a purpose, a cause. Purple Tuesday is about improving the disabled customer experience from which other benefits will flow. I am often told my passion is infectious. Delighted to be guilty as charged. That is the emotional fibre. But emotion always needs to be harnessed and complemented by mental and physical fibres. The former is about clarity of decisions under pressure. On the Saturday before Purple Tuesday when the second official lockdown was to be announced, the press release was re-written four times. The tone had to be in tune with the wider nation. And keeping up momentum is a physically gruelling marathon with mini-sprints included. The final fibre is social. Building alliances with those that get it. The sharers in the online world. And taking others on the journey. The 5,000+ conversations using #PurpleTuesday are clear indicators of a new social movement making real change. And the organisations that get involved benefit commercially as well.
As we take the next step to ensure Purple Tuesday becomes the norm 365 days a year, these fibres will need to be working in concert; for me, the Purple team, every organisation involved and disabled customers. For all of us it will require resilience. I will need to kick bad habits that impede my resilience. I hope you will like, react and share this post but I will make a point of not looking!
For more information about the work of Marcus Child go to:
17 November 2020