18:33 14.01.2022

Author OLENA OBUKHIVSKA

Important and urgent in Ukrainian public opinion

4 min read
Important and urgent in Ukrainian public opinion

Olena Obukhivska, Communications Director Arricano

 

The thirty-fourth president of the United States of America, Dwight David Eisenhower (1890-1969), ruled the USA for eight years. From 1953 to 1961, in this position, he pursued a policy of a "New look" in nuclear deterrence, authorized the creation of NASA, and lobbied Congress for the "Formosa Resolution" on military support to pro-western China.

His "Eisenhower Doctrine" in the foreign policy course provided for assistance to countries that were subjected to aggression from other states, especially the communist camp. And he solemnly opened a monument to Taras Shevchenko in Washington. 

In addition to a strong historical figure, strategist and diplomat, Eisenhower was also a brilliant manager. After all, the configuration about "important, urgent, not important, and not urgent" is also called the Eisenhower Matrix. According to him, "I have two problems: urgent and important. Urgent one is not important, and important one is urgent".

While "taking" this approach to the formation of public opinion in Ukraine, in my opinion, it is valuable to identify priority topics. At least in official communication at the state level in relation to events and circumstances that occur in the modern public life of the country.

I remember when I was still studying in Kyiv-Mohyla Academy, when the press highlighted our national idea, which can unite and "glue" Ukrainians together. And it was important, but not urgent.

Today, important things in politics have also become urgent – the anti-terrorist operation, annexation, threats of a new invasion, conflict resolution. These news, opinions, reviews, and assumptions dominate socio-political media platforms, the content of political and public figures, and experts. Consequently, the geopolitical theme blocks the access of attention and public understanding to other subjects and issues. And the national idea, culture, and heredity of Ukrainian thinking have moved to "not important" and "not urgent." And instead of forming a common stable Ukrainian position, events are responded to and commented on. The fluidity of communication tracks prevails over fundamental modeling.

Another observation of "urgent" in the media field is a lot of news to cover and keep up to date.  What matters here is how readers' own position is formed – whether they track events and cause-and-effect relationships in a long way, or they consume content with ready-made and presented thoughts in the text.

In the media, you can see another interesting phenomenon, when "not important" and "not urgent" masterfully turns into "important". This is in order to switch attention from the actually significant thing to the secondary one, to make of this secondary "not important" one a hit and concentration of public attention.

Among the "important" in Ukrainian public opinion remains the development of the theme of patriotism, the national idea, politically correct understanding of geopolitical challenges, the reaction to the gigantomania of the neighbor and the border demarcation line. Not only in the style of "I think so", but "we think so", "in our strong opinion". This "important" positioning creates a common "we", at least an illusory association gives grounds to speak about a single Ukrainian position in responding to provocative statements and dissent. Especially the one that falls from behind border sources. 

In fact, today in Ukraine there is freedom and many ways to express your personal position. It's easy to write a text, or create a video and post it somewhere. But how many people will read it, see it, share opinion or change it depends on the author's authority. Social media users with a large number of followers can consider themselves an opinion leaders and bloggers.  Usually, bloggers generate content with the status "urgent", and significantly less often join the "important". Although this is my personal opinion. I would even add that bloggers have more about their own quick interpretation for hype and trend than about accumulation of vox populi.

The greatest patriotism in state and individual communications is when we are all proud of the achievements, progress and recognition of Ukrainians. It's emotional, important, and urgent. But the prolonged hereditary link between patriotism and the unification of the nation is an "important" issue. Since there are other quick priorities in public opinion, we are still proud, and the mental association of Ukrainians is still "not urgent".

Eisenhower's communications priorities were the loudest for Americans. A clear, strong, most important position, and only then molecular versatile discussions and debates democratically "descended". First patriotism and nation. And "I-positions" and superficial speed without a thorough national-thinking official "we-background" it are unlikely the benefit for Ukrainians. 

 

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