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Contrasting Text & Tweet

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This method gives participants the chance to express the cognitive dissonance that they might experience in their working lives.


This method is a quick and easy way to capture feelings of contradiction or cognitive dissonance that many people experience in their work as change agents. Participants are presented with a challenging or overwhelming issue, similar to what they would face in their work life. The exercise requires them to compose two texts: an “official” tweet, responding to the issue from the perspective of their job or position; and a text to a trusted friend or confidant. The two compositions represent the likely contradiction between one’s official stance and one’s personal feeling about it. Expressing and acknowledging such contradiction can clear the way for more creative and innovative thinking and working.


  1. Describe a situation, challenge, or project;
  2. Ask participants to first write a 140 character tweet on an index card from the perspective of their official job - expressing confidence and a positive “can do” attitude;
  3. Next, on another index card, ask everyone to write a short text to a close friend or confidant expressing their doubts or frustrations and conflicting feelings;
  4. Ask them to read both the tweet and the text to the person sitting next to them and describe how each one felt;
  5. Collect the tweets and texts and post them on a wall or on a flipchart.

Place on U
5-15 minutes
Materials Needed

Index cards or sticky notes if the text & tweet will be posted or saved.

Emotional Intelligence
Online Engagement
Surfacing Hidden Dynamics
Tip and Experiences
  • Give participants only a small piece of paper/card to ensure they keep the message short and concise;
  • Explain the importance of acknowledging cognitive dissonance.

Relevant References & Resources

Harmon-Jones & Mills (1999). Cognitive Dissonance: Progress on a Pivotal Theory in Social Psychology.
Cooper (2007). Cognitive Dissonance: 50 Years of a Classic Theory.

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