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Jumping on the Social Bandwagon

April 20th, 2009

The New York Times sums it up best in their Freakonomics blog:

Robert Cialdini has shown time and again that people like to conform their behavior to that of others…..Want to get hotel guests to forego daily towel cleaning? Include a message telling them that most other guests reuse their towels. Want them to recycle even more? Tell them that most people using their very room recycle.”

We are seeing that exact same behavioral phenomenon happening with Social Media.  People you would never expect to be using Facebook, MySpace, or even more of a stretch – Twitter, are starting to do so in droves.  Why?  Not because they made the decision solely on their own or that it is even remotely connected to their historic pattern of internet usage.  They are molded by the power of suggestion and may feel like they are missing out on something if they don’t join the ‘social revolution’. 

I experienced this first hand this past week.  I have two very close friends exhibiting completely opposite behavior.  One, with more than 600 friends on Facebook, ‘freed’ himself of the burden of being so connected and shelved his account.  The other, with significantly fewer friends and relatively new to Facebook, took it a step further and started a Twitter account on Saturday….  He must have watched Oprah on Friday.  Reports have put new users of Twitter since her show @ more than 1Million…  Do you think they’ll keep their accounts active or is this a short lived ‘peer pressure’ moment?

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