I've been hearing about how social media can have a huge impact on the political stage. I decided to launch a petition.

It's very straightforward and meant to highlight that it is pretty unreasonable for someone (President Trump) to build something but then expect someone (Mexico) else to pay for it.

I put it on Facebook, twitter and whatsapp'ed various groups. After all my efforts there are 11 signatures.

Does anyone know what I have done wrong and how it could be done successfully. Are there certain sites where I should be positing etc?

Given the success of other such petitions, I trying to understand where I went wrong. Is it pure pot-luck?

Basically, does anyone know how one launches a political petition successfully?

  • 1
    This is about marketing moreso than politics. This also comes across as spam.
    – user1530
    Feb 6 '17 at 23:20
  • @blip disappointed you feel that way. Can you suggest an edit so that it does not come across as spam?
    – SeanJ
    Feb 7 '17 at 9:12
  • Remove the link to your petition.
    – user1530
    Feb 7 '17 at 9:54

I disagree with dannyf's answer. Petitioning is a form of campaigning, and you don't start a campaign without preparation.

The first step is to gather a team. For many electoral campaigns, that's fairly straightforward: members of political parties team up to get their candidate(s) elected. For a petition, you might look at other organizations. For instance, PETA could probably form a team to start a petition for animal welfare.

The second part of the campaign is planning. You need signatures, which means you need to convince people, and that takes communication. Who are you going to contact, how, and what will you tell them?

With the plan in place, you can start looking at costs. Who will pay for the communications? You'll need to find sponsors, and see if you can get media access via media personalities who share your opinion. It would be useful if you had people on your team with a network in those circles.

With all the preparations in place, launching the petition is close to the end of the process. Yes, you'll need to invest a lot of work once it's launched, but this phase takes much less time than the previous phases. You simply won't have the resources to keep the petition active for a long period.

  • What you might want to add: Also try to get some of the politicians on board who might agree with your point of view, but were not able to get any traction for that opinion in their party/faction/cabinet. In most jurisdictions, petitions are non-binding, so without any political support at all they are doomed anyway. But a popular petition can give leverage to those politicians who support it.
    – Philipp
    Feb 7 '17 at 11:54
  • @Philipp: That might be a counterproductive move. If your idea gets associated with an unsuccessful politician, the idea might not be judged on its merits. On the other hand, if you manage to form coalitions across party boundaries, an idea might succeed even if it fails within key parties.
    – MSalters
    Feb 7 '17 at 12:43

Basically, does anyone know how one launches a political petition successfully?


First of all, you have to launch a political petition, as a prerequisite for it to be successful. Sounds like you already did it.

Secondly, you have to make it well known. You did some of that, by broadcasting it on social media. you may consider other forms of distribution, like TV commercials, celebrity endorsements, roadside signs, large scale protests or demonstrations, going onto to talk shows, hiring pros to do it for you, etc. The more people know of it, the better chance you get more support, everything else being equal. Also, if people in Mexico or Europe are more sympathetic to your view, marketing to those folks can drum up support as well. However, you do run the risk of energizing the opposition.

Lastly, you have to make sure that your petition represents the people's view. To do that, you have to invest in understanding the people, understanding what's important to those people, and designing your petition to represent what they want the government to do for them the most.

You have to get each of those steps right for your petition to be successful. The last one is especially important.

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