Friday, December 29, 2006

Influence and persuasion in a Web 2.0 world.

Social networking is a form of "Social Proof". Unfamilar with the term? It's one of the six principles explained in "Influence, the Psychology of Persuasion" by Robert Cialdini. Many people with malign intent use the princples of persuasion to get at those who are vulnerable. In an open climate like Web 2.0, those who try to misuse persuasion can be exposed for what they are.

I've learned and field-tested all of the principles outlined here and can attest to the fact they work. I can also tell you that an insincere person will get less out of using them than one who is honest and forthright. The influences themselves may act in a covert way, but the motive of the influencer influences the influenced. You can't fool all of the people all of the time, especially in an open network where negative feedback spreads like wildfire.

What is truly important for anyone who intends to use their social networking efforts to promote a business, idea, point of view, etc., is to make sure your approach is congruent with these principles. If you stray from the key points, you may be undercutting your efforts.