Influence and Blogs

Jonathon Delacour connects Cialdini’s excellent book “Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion” and weblogs:

Cialdini identifies six principles of persuasion. One only needs to have had a weblog for about five minutes to see the relevance to blogging of Cialdinis ideas about how we are persuaded and how we reach decisionsparticularly concerning whom one links to or adds to ones blogroll. If youre honest, youll recognize that at least some of Cialdinis principles have determined your linking/blogrolling preferences:

Reciprocity: When we receive an unsolicited gift, we feel an obligation to give something in return. ((If I put you on my blogroll, youll feel obliged to put me on yours.)

Commitment and Consistency: Once we make a commitment, there is a natural tendency to behave in ways that are stubbornly consistent with our earlier decision, even if that decision turns out to be mistaken. (Now that youre on my blogroll Im unlikely to remove you.)

Social Proof: In a given situation, our view of whether a particular behavior is correct or not is directly proportional to the number of other people we see performing that behaviour. (If all those other people have X on their blogrolls, then he definitely should be on my blogroll.)

Liking: We prefer to say yes to people we know and likeespecially people who are physically attractive, who are similar to us, who praise us (subtly), whom we encounter regularly, and who are associated with individuals or events we admire. (The people I link to and have on my blogroll are similar to me, have praised me, are associated with events or projects Id like to be a part of at the very least, since Im never going to reach the A-list, I can bask in the A-listers reflected glory.)

Authority: Since we have been socialized to obey legitimate authorities, we tend to also obey individuals whom we perceive to possess high levels of knowledge, wisdom, and power. (Anyone on the Technorati Top 100 must automatically be knowledgeable, wise, and powerful.)

Scarcity: We assign greater value to opportunities when they become less available and frequently assume that scarcity is an indicator of quality. (Since the A-list has so few members relative to the total blogging population, what A-listers write must necessarily be of high quality. Similarly, a link from an A-lister is enormously valuableregardless of the quality of the item at the end of that link.)

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Rajesh Jain

An Entrepreneur based in Mumbai, India.