Peer to Peer Dept.

By Serdar Yegulalp on 2013-03-30 14:00:00 No comments

In "The Destructive Influence of Imaginary Peers" (The New York Times) we learn that peer pressure propaganda can be a more effective way to influence people (and maybe win friends, too). I imagine fans of stuff like NLP are rubbing their hands over this stuff, with the exception that this has some basis in real science and NLP from all I have seen does not; it's essentially a pretentiously-labeled motivational thinking system. But that's another story.

The idea, or so it seems, is to stage an end run around people's preconceptions about their own behavior. People like to think of themselves as rational, so if you play along with that instead of against it -- if you tell them "This is what other people like you are doing" instead of "This is what someone like you should be doing", you can provide them with incentives they might not have been even been aware existed. More specifically, you can get them to tell themselves they have such incentives.

I wonder if an approach like this could be used to crack what I've come to call the Not On The Radar problem: the problem you face when you're a self-published or indie creator of the fact that the vast majority of people don't even know you exist in the first place. Others have pointed out that this problem isn't limited to self-published / indie creators: there are a great many folks of all stripes who make no dents with the general public. There's only so much attention to go around, and only so many ways to get someone's attention without being written off as pushy. Maybe there's an end run that involves a peer-pressure mechanism of some kind, one which doesn't look like peer pressure.

Tags: psychology publishing sociology