In 2007 the Washington Post conducted an experiment. They involved one of the best musicians in the world to play one of the most expensive instruments in the world (a $3.5 million Stradivarius violin) on a subway platform during morning rush hour. Most people simply ignored him, “the final haul for his 43 minutes of playing was $32.17. Yes, some people gave pennies.”
This experiment which i talked about is an example of Social Proof. Wikipedia describes Social Proof as:
Social proof, also known as informational social influence, is a psychological phenomenon that occurs in ambiguous social situations when people are unable to determine the appropriate mode of behavior. Making the assumption that surrounding people possess more knowledge about the situation, they will deem the behavior of others as appropriate or better informed.
So, what actually is social Proof. The roots of mind control stem from an arm of psychology known as social psychology. Social pyschology is the science of people’s behavior in groups and their interaction with others. We humans act quite differently when we interact with others than we do individually.
What is social proof? It’s forming an opinion based on what other people are doing. We visit a restaurant because our friends have visited and said the food tastes fab. We see long line of people waiting their turn. Even Movies!! we watch a particular movie because people have seen it, reviewed it, want to see it!!
Are we using Social Proof??
Yes surely!! If you tag photos, videos, articles etc in Facebook, Orkut, Blogs etc. Then you are using social proofing. If you submit your favorite articles, links to social bookmarking, then you are using social Proofing. The principle of social proof is particularly applicable to social bookmarking because it predicts that the tags applied by users will be more similar to each other if they are provided with a list of suggested tags.
Social proofing can be applied to Blogs as well. Some simple steps:
1. Show the number of visitors
2. Show the list of people following your blog
3. Show the ranking of blog/site
4. Show the most recent comments
5. Show the number of Diggs or Bookmarking if possible
6. Promote your RSS feed