Just before Christmas I discovered via the Free Postcode Lottery that YouGov are interested in the opinions of women in my age group (60+) and so I signed up to take their surveys. You can do as many or as few as you like and you can choose to be rewarded for your time in cash, or entries into their prize draw. I go for the latter, more fun. And if it ain’t fun, why bother, right?
They solicit, even within the one short survey, my opinions on a very wide range of topics and I am surprised by a couple of things.
All the questions are very modern, as are my answers, because I don’t behave very much like a typical 60 year-old, whatever that is these days. YouGov are collecting quite a lot of information about me so they know that about me too – they know I am a geek, which gadgets I am wedded to, that I do all my shopping online, live alone, which hobbies and interests I have, how I watch TV (online, streaming) and much, much more, so soon already.
And they never treat me in an apparently ageist fashion, until, that is, we come to them asking me to tell them which TV programmes I like and which actors and so on. Then they show me a raft of stuff like Rising Damp and actors who died so long ago I can’t even remember who they are. Comes as a bit of a surprise this. An anomaly I haven’t yet figured out. I like Sherlock and The Good Wife and bang up to date stuff, just like the kids. And given they know that, why am I being asked about fogey stuff too? No doubt I shall get to the bottom of this in the fullness of time, I might even ask them straight out.
That one’s a by-the-by, not important in the least. Here’s what is. They ask me about “issues” and frequently my answer is “Don’t know” because I am mainly not interested, or not well enough informed to have an opinion on political issues, for example. And after each one of those types of questions they ask me to rate how important an issue is to me. And my answer is an almost universal “not at all” or words to that effect. Sometimes it creeps up a notch, but rarely.
This is not a surprise to me. This is something I have always known about myself. I am not interested in making a difference to global issues by my political opinion or vote. Those sorts of issues are mostly not important to me, though occasionally I can be persuaded to sign one of those petitions to persuade the government to think again but I do it without any expectation that any good will come of it. This in itself is unusual, given that I am Pollyanna, who expects good to come of most things.
I am not a planet-saver or a world-changer. BUT… many of my clients are. And my little bit of good is to support them because, to me, that’s the same difference. I want to make a difference to that one. I want to be part of the changes where my contribution does make a difference and I wonder what on earth is the point of me wasting energy or emotion on those things I don’t think will change or where I have no expectation that they will. I just let those ones go on by and do my little bit of good where I can, with my clients.
I make a difference to that one. And I do believe that all those little bits of good add up to something valuable. That is an important issue to me, YouGov take note.