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The increasing polarisation of society and its implications for communicators

Welcome to the PRmoment Podcast.

It’s a weighty topic this week - on the show we’re going to be looking at some new research from Golin called The Polarisation Index.

This research looks to investigate which topics polarisation society. Has modern society become more about affirming our own views, rather than exposing ourselves to different perspectives?

To talk to us about this we’ve got Jonny Bentwood, global head of data & analytics at Golin.

Before we start, just to tell you about PRmoment’s new Patron Scheme. If you are a regular consumer of our content, including this podcast, and you’re getting value from it, if you fancy making a contribution to help fund the PRmoment - now you can.

We have three different Patron Tiers—The Daney Parker Tier, The Chadlington Tier and Edward Bernays Tier.

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Finally, thanks to our PRmoment Podcast sponsors, The PRCA.

Here’s a summary of what Jonny and PRmoment’s Ben Smith discussion on this week’s show:

1.30 mins How does this research change our thinking about how people are forming their views in modern society?

“We’ve lived in a perfect storm to create polarisation (in society)...Extreme views in the past would have been talked down by friends and family but recently they’ve found affirmation online and where previously they were a minority, (online) they are a majority…People are living in echo chambers which are reaffirming their views.”

3 mins Why COVID has accelerated the polarisation of society.

“Polarisation is a critical communications problem”

4 mins Jonny talks us through the implications of the research for communicators.

5.30 mins How do the topics that cause polarisation change over time and between geographies?

7 mins Jonny takes the polarising topic of immigration and talks us through how it polarises opinion amongst different groups through different types of media.

8.30 mins and 10 mins Why some polarisation topics are unilateral, some are bilateral and some are variable.

9.30 mins The rise of conflict entrepreneurs - who are making money stoking tribalism within society.

10 mins When you have a score of 90 or above, it’s referred to as “Danger Territory” in terms of the likely impact of this extreme polarisation on people’s behaviour.

12 mins Polarisation is not a short term trend and companies will have to engage in topics that have become polarised.

14 mins How does this report measure polarisation within different media outlets and different topics.

15 mins Why the most popular topics are not the most polarising. How do people behave when they see content they either don’t or do agree with?

16 mins Jonny runs us through the 10 most polarising topics.

19 mins Is polarisation a communication problem or a societal problem? Do we still, as a society, believe in facts?

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