La Generalista is the online identity of Alicia Wanless – a researcher and practitioner of strategic communications for social change in a Digital Age. Alicia has spoken publicly on the Age of (Dis)information and Participatory Propaganda, and has shared her work and insights with senior government, military, industry leaders and academic experts at Wilton Park, the Munich Security Conference, the Hedayah Centre, NATO’s ARRC and the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.

Zero Hour Podcast Interview

Speaking to Zero Hour about why we need to understand more about misinformation and influence operations for democracy.

How prepared are we for living in the information age?

Information’s role in conflict and persuasion isn’t new, what has changed is the speed, reach and ability of audiences to engage with content. Yet the reactions to findings of various actors attempting to manipulate the information environment to sway target audiences is being treated as a novel and exceptional threat, this chat explores some of the challenges around understanding this space and attempts to protect people without preparing them for life in an Information Age

Is Digital Propaganda Turning us into Propagandists?

Propaganda has traditionally followed a very top-down communication model. The propagandist issues persuasive messaging aimed at achieving a specific outcome among the target audience. As such, it’s been rather one way – like most mass media. With the internet and social media, however, the audience can in fact become coopted to propagate persuasive messaging too. This talk at Ryerson University’s Social Media Lab explores how persuasive communications are changing online through the example of Donald Trump’s campaign during the 2016 U.S. presidential election, putting forward a model for participatory propaganda.

Talk Delivered 31 March 2017 in Toronto, Canada

Stop and Think – Before Falling Down the Digital Rabbit Hole

This TED Talk was presented at Whitehall in London. The event, Tedx Whitehall Women, was hosted by the U.K. Foreign and Commonwealth Office. The theme of the overall TEDx event was “Time”. This talk posits that we should take the time to stop and think before falling down the digital rabbit hole, and covers issues such as online bullying, disinformation, complaining, and narcissism – but also suggests ways in which each of us can improve our information space for the better. 

The animations were created by Jesus Rivera. A full transcript of the talk is available here.