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The Six Tendencies of Persuasive Blogs

There are apparently 6 basic tendencies of human behaviour that come into play when generating a positive response to a request. [Source: Scientific American/Special Edition: Mind]. What I thought was interesting was how these can be applied to group dynamics generally, and getting people to join in (and , erm, maybe even link to your blog).

Anyway, here are the six tendencies, and some tentative translations to the blog world

  • Reciprocation
    "All societies subscribe to a norm that obligates individuals to repay in kind what they have received"
    Comment on other people's blogs to get comments on your own

  • Consistency
    "Joseph Schwarzald of Bar-Ilan University in Israel and his coworkers nearly doubled monetary contributions for the handicapped in certain neighbourhoods. The key factor: two weeks before asking for contributions, they got residents to sign a petition supporting the handicapped, thus making a public commitment to that same cause"
    Keep a focus to your blog. Just being yourself might be enough.

    [UPDATE: Rick has made a really good point in the comments. My focus take might well be wrong. He suggests that the consistency isn't wanted by the blogger but by the reader.

  • Social Validation
    "A study found that a fund-raiser who showed homeowners a list of neighbours who had donated to a local charity significantly increased the frequency of contributions; the longer the list the greater the effect"
    Power law stuff. The more people link, the more people link
  • Liking
    "People prefer to say yes to people they like. Consider the worldwide success of the Tupperware Corporation and its "home party" program ... according to company literature, a Tupperware party begins somewhere in the world every two seconds"

    "In the 1970s researchers [at] the University of Toronto found that voters in Canadian federal elections gave physically attractive candidates several times as many votes as attractive ones. Yet such voters insisted that their choices would never be influenced by something as superficial as appearance"

    "Compliments also stimulate liking ... researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel hill found that compliments produced just as much liking for the flatterer then they untrue as when they were genuine"

    Be nice, say nice things in your comments, if you can't phrase them respectfully, and er, if you're ugly, don't post a picture of yourself on the blog

  • Authority
    "A highly successful ad campaign in the 1970s featured actor Robert Young proclaiming the health benefits of decaffeinated coffee. Young seems to have been able to dispense this medical opinion effectively because he represented, at the time, the nations most famous physician. That Marcus Welby, MD, was only a character on a TV show was less important than the appearance of authority"
    Explain who you are, use a blog certificate, show some stats, though possibly not from Technorati.

  • Scarcity
    "A great deal of evidence shows that items and opportunities become more desirable to us as they become more available. For this reason, marketers trumpet the unique benefits ... of their offerings. It is also for this reason that they consistently engage in "limited time only" promotions ... [or use] sales campaigns based on "limited supply".
    What is less widely recognised is that scarcity affects the value not only of commodities but of information as well"
    Do your own thinking, don't just comment on the big guns, find interesting new stuff

  • I'd really like to know what other examples people have of these categories working, especially in the group moderation area. If it helps persuade you to add a comment: I'm one of a kind, I have a doctor's coat, I'm dashingly handsome, lots of of people say so anyway, I consistently lie about my appearance, and, um, I'm afraid the most I can offer is a cup of tea


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