Are the elections crazier than usual this year? Blue steel? Ferrari? Le Tigre? I feel like I'm taking crazy pills!

(Note #1: This is a slightly different post than usual, but takes into consideration influence, psychology, and persuasion, which are ALL extremely relevant to marketing.)

Either Obama or Romney will win the election. Who? Not sure. For this post, it doesn't matter. Facebook and Twitter have already "won" (good for them, they made tens of millions of dollars from political advertising), while the rest of us seem to have "lost"...friends.

"I am unfollowing you!" "You are getting hidden in my newsfeed!" WTF?!?! 

To poorly steal some lyrics from Ludacris, everybody's Act a Fool

People are getting mad at friends, family, and coworkers. I guess we all could ignore the political posts (or log off!), but as often is the case, we haven't. We seem drawn to drama. While we were presented with quality information from some, more often we were flooded with biased BS, poorly thought out propaganda, and then childish arguments by people we all typically respect: our peers. Then, the "yelling" (or typing with CAPS LOCK) naturally ensues...on a public forum...that EVERYBODY can see.

Thankfully, it's almost over. We can all be buddy-buddy again!

ANYWAYS, the main reason I am writing about the elections at midnight when I consider myself rather apolitical (yes, I'll vote) is to quote a passage from Robert Cialdini's masterpiece, Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion (we'll call it Influence for short) that I think clearly explains why everybody's acting a fool. 

"Once we have made up our minds about an issue, stubborn consistency allows us a very appealing luxury: We really don't have to think hard about the issue anymore. We don't have to sift through the blizzard of information we encounter every day to identify relevant facts; we don't have to expend the mental energy to weight the pros and cons; we don't have to make any further tough decisions...We need only believe, say, or do whatever is consistent with our earlier decision."

 People are stubborn. People are busy. People are passionate. People strive to be consistent. 

Think about that when your friends go on political rants, then smile and carry on. Think about that when you are marketing to others and want to get a leg up. Think about that when you are in a heated argument about something, completely lose track, and continue fighting for your stance solely because that's the side you took in the first place.

Here is another quote for the day: 

"There is no expedient to which a man will not resort to avoid the real labor of thinking." - Sir Joshua Reynolds

 Maybe we should be a little more open-minded, patient, and think a bit more. And be friends.


What do you think about influence and the commitment to consistency? What are some of the most ridiculous political rants or other wild rants you've heard lately? Have you read Influence?

I think there might be quite a few posts in the future diving into Influence. :) 

(Note #2: There are no Amazon Affiliate codes in the links, I just wanted to mention a must read book. Also, thanks to Sean Ellis for recommending it.


Thanks to Daryl Cagle for the image above.