Online petitions: Do they actually make an impact or are they just a waste of time?
An online petition is commonly known as a mechanism through which the general population can persuade the government to change or modify certain laws. They also give us an idea about the number of people
An online petition is commonly known as a mechanism through which the general population can persuade the government to change or modify certain laws. They also give us an idea about the number of people who are interested in the movement.
If you have a request that you think should be addressed by the government, you can set up an online petition. There are many e-petition websites, although the most notable is Change.org.
Additionally, many governments around the world have now introduced their own petition websites, allowing citizens to campaign directly, rather than through a third-party.
How do online petitions really work?
- To be successful, the online petition should have an actionable title or outcome. Generally, petitions that appeal to a sense of outrage perform better than those with a softer or more positive angle. That said, this isn’t unique to petitioning; most online content is based around anger and negativity.
- The campaign also needs an end date. The objective may require this, but making the petition time-sensitive can motivate people to get involved.
- Once someone clicks on the petition, they would need to provide a form of signature, whether that be written and copied, or simply just a typed name, to highlight their support for that cause.
- Once the campaign reaches its target number of supporters, the petition can be presented for discussion.
For a petition to make an impact, it’ll usually need many hundreds of signatures. For example, official petitions on the UK government’s website must reach 10,000 signatures before the authority responds to them. Despite obtaining such large levels of support, you may still find that your petition isn’t able to make a long-lasting impact.
Do they really make an impact?
The internet has changed many aspects of society. We can connect with others around the world, and make connections and friendships with like-minded people, without geographical restrictions. The same factors influence online petitions, too. These campaigns can be far more successful than their paper-based counterparts.
That doesn’t mean that they have more influence, though. Online petitions are only one part of a successful campaign. They help raise awareness of an issue, so even if there is no immediate direct outcome, digital petitions still have their benefits.