The power of listening: How shall we share what we have found?

Aleks Collingwood
Inside the Joseph Rowntree Foundation
3 min readNov 29, 2023

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An ear with arrows pointing to it is connected to an image of a woman’s face in profile with her mouth open by a white squiggly line. The background of the image is yellow.

People in poverty are using online forums to talk about the issues they face. We’re trying to use what they are sharing to learn more.

For those of you following this series of blogs, you will know that we have recently published new groundbreaking research. The research draws on the experiences and concerns of people with lived experience of the issues we care about, as shared on social media platforms. The report can be read in full, here.

We are really pleased with how much we have discovered — and the reactions we have had so far about this work have been very positive. This research proves the power of listening. It is real-time insight, and it also brings a real depth to the conversation — Finding out what people are sharing with their peers is unique and it really demonstrates the complexity of issues.

My first blog was about the reasoning behind this project, how we did it (with Demos), and what we found to be the main things that people in poverty are talking about online.

My second blog talks about how MPs and policy makers could use this information to make informed decisions.

In my last blog, I discuss how charities and other third sector organisations could use what we have found from social media listening to help them develop their services.

We are planning to develop and build on this research in 2024.

Now, we really need to hear from YOU

Our ambition is not just to provide new useful and relevant insights, but to make sure that what we have found is distributed widely, is easily accessible, and is in a format that helps all users engage with it.

I am opening the floor for designers, data analysts, developers, charities and third sector organisations in general, MPs, policy makers, and anyone else who is interested in using this information, to help shape how we present it. We are after your ideas and suggestions.

How can JRF make the findings of our social media listening research, more useful and accessible?

How should we share this information in the future?

What would make you more likely to use our social media listening findings/insights?

Options include, but are in no way limited to:

  1. The same format as our recently published report.

2. Word Clouds — a type of data visualization technique that helps communicate the research data in a way that’s easy to interpret and use. We know we are often drawn to patterns and colours and that often people process visual images more easily than text. In the example below, the size of each word indicates its importance or frequency in the data.

3. Padlet. Another option may be for us to publish a Padlet that we update each wave. A Padlet is like an online noticeboard and is also a very effective way to share information. Our key findings from this project could look something like this…

Help us help you….

To make it easy for you to share your ideas, I have designed a form with only 4 questions.

Please complete it here

I am looking forward to hearing from you!

If you would like to find out more about our Insight & Infrastructure team, or this project in particular, please get in touch with aleks.collingwood@jrf.org.uk, rosario.piazza@jrf.org.uk or sophia.knight@demos.co.uk.

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Aleks Collingwood
Inside the Joseph Rowntree Foundation

Partnership Insight Manager at the Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF) generating timely and impactful insights on social and economic inequalities.