Wednesday, 31 December 2008

Influencing, Duping and Misleading Blog Readers

image credit A Beautiful Revolution

I've just been messing about with a few blogging tools. The first is Google Battle which I used to see which keywords come up most. I was interested to see that Dupe beats Gullible and that Influencing beats Persuading, so including them in the title is a bit of an experiment.

The second tool was Google Trends I've never used this before, so as a bit of fun I thought I'd compose a blog inspired by the top ten trend terms to see what happens:

Well it seems that end of the year can find your soullow this can happen when the temprature drops soullow that your find that your zune frozen. If this happens you don't want to go the way of Todd Doxey and the simplist way to avoid this is to make sure you have reset zune. Once you have done this you can turn your attention to the more important things in life such as wondering if the words Dane Cook Married is really a sentence, however reaching a conclusion on this is about as likely as winning the Idaho Lottery. If that is the case then you might consider watching Bachelor Party 2 instead, which might be one of the super solutions for a prosperous New Year, especially if your Idaho Raffle ticket comes in which would make you almost as rich as Barbara Streisand

Well I hope this has been a positive influence on your day and that you don't think you have been duped and mislead! Happy New Year Blogsters!

Tuesday, 30 December 2008

How Come Steven Gerrard Deserves Support?


News on 20th March 2009 assualt charge dropped but Gerrard still faces charge of Affray. this is not an inconsequential charge for a celebrity and supposed sports leader. As wikipedia explains:

A person is guilty of affray if a person uses or threatens unlawful violence towards another and the person's conduct is such as would cause a person of reasonable firmness present at the scene to fear for his personal safety.

Original Post:

The public announcement by Liverpool Football club that they are giving Steven Gerrard all the support he needs is staggering in its self referenced naivite

Whilst I can understand that they might wish to advise and counsel their player privately, to link his service to the club to a justification for the need to support him is surely misguided. This reads as 'because he is a star his alleged bad behaviour should be seen in a different light to the general public'.

Steven Gerrard regardless of the regard anyone might have for his playing skills has been arrested and charged with a serious crime. It is also true that he may not be found guilty, although the Police seem to be convinced of his involvement.

This endorsement of Steven Gerrard's behaviour is yet another misguided intervention by a football club that over inflates the egos and sense of being untouchable in their players. This is a public relations disgrace and the club should be held to account. They should also learn to more circumspect about the impact of their public statements and the connotations that they contain.

The message? Behave badly in a high profile position of responsibility and you will be cosseted and cuddled. Where is the sense in that? The likely consequences will be similar displays and expectations from Saturday and Sunday league junior wannabes.

A more appropriate statement might have read "We are ashamed that these charges have been brought to a senior player at Liverpool Football Club and remind young people that if they are involved or associated in any way with incidents of violent behaviour they will be subject to the full force of the law"

Support for Mr Gerrard is taking 'You'll Never Walk Alone' a step too far!

Thursday, 25 December 2008

Gullible Life Form Observed In Space

NASA has released an image of a world inhabited by a gullible life-form.

Many of this world's inhabitants believe in the existence of a supernatural red and white clothed old man who places piles of colourful paper under dead pine trees.

This endemic gullibility even leads them to believe that they can use up all of the planets resources and pollute the atmosphere which culminates once a year in the celebration known as 'Ex Mass'(which of course the planet will be), that predicts the ultimate destruction of their world.

Tuesday, 23 December 2008

To Kill A Mocking Bird Synchronicity

The passing of Robert Mulligan director of the film version of Harper Lee's book To Kill A Mocking Bird is spooky news.

Last night I was late night shopping in ASDA / Wal Mart in the UK and browsing books with my partner. Looking up and down the shelves we saw nothing, until I bent down to look at what I thought was an empty shelf.

It wasn't...on its own at the back, out of sight was a copy of To Kill A Mocking Bird.

It was recommended a few weeks ago by my brother as his favourite read, and it was one of the examination books I had at high school. I never read it and blagged the exam with cursory knowledge about Boo Radley et al from a revision text.

So I've never read it, my partner never bought it last night. Guess what she's going to get for Xmas :)

Sunday, 21 December 2008

How Do We Get Into Debt?

People in debt are sleep walkers

No doubt many of us are familiar with this famous quote from Charles Dickens:

"Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen six, result happiness. Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pound ought and six, result misery." credit The Quotations Page

So how come something as blindingly obvious to so many people as how we get into debt still results in so many of us struggling to repay credit cards and the like? Have we all been really gullible? Are we really all that stupid? Are we all financially and arithmetically inept?

I guess in some ways we have to take some of the responsibility for getting into debt. I don't mean this is a direct sense though. I mean it in the sense that significant numbers of us have not put any effort into becoming more aware of the commercial techniques that are used to encourage us to part with our money which then leads us to getting into debt.

Much of our indebtedness is due to the manipulation of situation we find ourselves in when we shop. The places we go to buy things are engineered to lower or psychological defences. Our logical faculties are bypassed by appeals to emotional cues. Our conscious decision making is bypassed and our unconscious is spoken to.

Enter any retail environment, and, not withstanding the general societal norms that support 'acquiring things' (materialism and consumerism) we enter a world designed to take our money off us.

Walk through the door and you enter what is known as the 'decompression zone' that open 5 meters between the door and the goods. This zone is designed to ensure that you to change your mind state from an 'in control rational shopper' into a 'less rational consumer'. You are then more open minded to the sensory assault that confronts you, the music that not only implies you are in a different place (club, bar, home) but also something that 'distracts' your rational thought. You pay attention to the music and not to your rational faculties. In this undefended state you become far more open to the myriad of messages that are put to you on promotional material and carefully crafted sales assistant behaviour and messages.

The environment is then designed to 'take you away from stress and towards relaxation' and ultimately happiness. The happier you are the more endorphins your brain releases which are so addictive that you seek more pleasurable experiences, so you go and buy stuff you don't need because you want to look and feel good. Your sense of identity demands it.

So where do you go to get the money you need? The banks of course!. Well...guess what Banks are Retailers They use exactly the same methods as 'ordinary' retailers and so we have a debt fuelling system. The really deceptive aspect of this is that they convey the image that they are impartial advisers The latest UK Nat West Money Sense TV advert actually says that the people you meet are NOT salespeople! Really? dressed in corporate uniforms, meeting you on their premises which are full of sales messages? This is overt situation manipulation. These people cannot be impartial.

Read any basic text on Social Influence and it will explain that 're-framing' or giving a new name to something that makes a new association that disguises the real intent is as old as the hills. Sales people become consultants, become advisers, become 'your friend', who you trust and base your purchase decisions on!

Another 'wheeze' is the advice they give to re-finance loans. So many of us misunderstand debt and its repayment that we are tempted to extend loans. Don't do it! The initial element of re-payment is the interest which the banks make sure they get off you first. By asking you to extend the loan the 'clock' is re-set and you start paying interest again and so if you find you can pay the debt back earlier you are still in hock.

We are not taught 'retail and advertising psychology or financial management' at schools. We should be. The techniques are not 'difficult' they are simply 'off curriculum'

In our modern interconnected fast paced worlds we should be teaching our kids the rudiments of the commercial practices to which they are continually exposed. This is real education. So tell will knowing "Ou est la Boulangerie" or "1066 was the Norman Invasion of Britain" help you in the modern world.

Try telling your credit card company "I know I'm in debt but I can conjugate a verb like the best of them!" I was in debt, I am in debt, I will be in debt, I have debted? I am debting? I will debt? How about a new verb 'debting', referring to the state of being entirely ignorant of the sophisticated commercial techniques applied to gullible consumers?

Remember banks are NOT services they are purveyors of financial products
you will know that talking in your sleep walking will lead to debt.

Wednesday, 17 December 2008

Righteous Kill Advertising - A Self Righteous Thrill?

image credit - flikr user coconono

The placing of an advertising poster promoting the film Righteous Kill in Stockwell Tube Station where Jean Charles de Menezes was killed has been roundly condemned by the British Advertising Authority

In their judgement they say that "We understood the siting of the poster at the station was unintentional"

An alternative explanation might be more skeptical.

Even a cursory glance at much of the output of the Advertising Business Bubble reveals it as frequently self absorbed with its own creativity. This obsession with shock (remember those Benetton adverts?) is superficially justified as acting upon the findings of social psychology which suggest that 'Salience' is necessary to attract attention in a world full of informational noise.

An almost exclusive obsession with Salience pre-disposes the less rounded members of the advertising fraternity to believe that their role is about attracting attention and little else. The ends therefore justify the means and ethical 'norms' become skewed in an atypical self -referencing business environment. These businesses are child like in their 'foot stamping' attention seeking behaviour.

The very fact that I am writing this blog post betrays what I feel (affective response guys!) is the reality of what the real motivation behind the advert placement was compared to the logical explanation given (cognitive response) that it was simply an unfortunate mistake. Do me a favour!

By acting and then seeking forgiveness, the people who placed the advert in Stockwell Tube station where Jean Charles de Menezes was killed reveal their true intentions. They knew that the approbation would attract more attention than the advert. Meta Salience is achieved through a self righteous thrill

Sunday, 14 December 2008

Why Do People Always Tell Me What To Do?

I'm sure we have all been on the receiving end of phrases such as "What you should do is...", or "What you need to do is..." and "You must do...". Just listen in to any mobile phone conversation on public transport, in the local bar, at the office, in fact any social situation and you will hear someone telling someone else what the should do with their lives.

Often this well intentioned advice it is simply a bad social habit. A habit that is based on the assumption that what is good for one person has to be good for another.

How does it happen? Well, in some ways the root of the problem can lie with the 'YOU' because it can be your lack of clarity about what to do in situations that leaves a sort of 'advice vacuum' which many people love to fill, and this is how people can take advantage of you.

Because the world is packed full of information our brains can't cope with every little detail. So in order to manage this we all rely on what social psychologists call heuristics. These are 'rules of thumb' or mental short cuts that we use to save us having to work things out from scratch everytime we come across them.

Just imagine if everytime you saw a naked flame you had to investigate it in detail to find out it hurt you when you touched it! To save having to do this 'our rule of thumb' mechanism writes a little module in our brain which says 'flickering red and orange things are hot and dangerous'

We use things like this all the time. 'people in white coats are knowledgeable', 'high price indicates quality', 'red sky at night shepherds delight'

These 'short cuts' represent our cumulative experience of life which we then use to explain why things happened in the past and what will happen in the future. That's why a person who is always telling other people what to do is so quick with advice. Rules of thumb are useful but they mean that we trade off accuracy of thinking for speed of thinking. They are helpful generalisations but they can be wrong. Social psychologists Tversky and Kahneman identified three types of shortcut.

The Availibility shortcut. These are shortcuts that we use to say 'the more we aware of something the more we think it can happen to us'. e.g. If the news is always reporting burgalry then we think there is an increased chance of it happening to us'

The Representativeness shortcut
used to determine how ‘typical’ something/one is. e.g. 'all men/women are like that'

The Anchoring and Adjustment short cut
e.g. using self as a basis for ability to use a computer. My knowledge and keen interest in computers 'must be shared by everyone else'

People who tell us what to do, people who take advantage of good natured people, people who take advantage of you at work make use of these 'shortcuts'. For example, 'a messy desk means you are badly organised', 'I think this particular report is important therefore everyone else will','s/he's the Technical Director they've go to know what they're talking about' etc

Usually our 'rules of thumb' have worked successfully in the past and so we assume they will be valid in the future. This is a trap! The problem is that our 'theories for success/failure' become taken for granted and we presume that they appropriate for everyone else's circumstances too.

Another factor is the position that the advisor takes in relation to the advised. The adviser assumes that they are knowledgeable and the person they are advising is lacking in some way that needs to be improved. This general approach is characterised by people such as Virginia Satir who derived behaviour typologies such as The Blamer, or Eric Berne who talked about Persecutors.

People who utter phrases such as 'you must' also give an indication of the extent of their self-awareness. Which is very little. They are unaware they are advising from a set of assumptions. They are prescribing solutions rather than working with the person they wish to help to uncover alternative options and ways forward.

There is, of course, a judgement to made as to context. In situations of grave danger then it might be very appropriate to tell somebody that they must do something. In general social situations though this is rarely the case.

You might try this sometime if ever someone you know is being insistent with their advice. You might ask them 'should I?', 'must I?' Remember the context though. If someone has responsibility for you then they have a certain authority to insist on things. That said, developing your self confidence and getting clarity on what you should do independently helps keep things in balance.

Another classic situation in which people tell others what to do is known as The Double Bind in which instructions to another person are known as 'injunctions' (not to be confused with the legal term meaning to stop somebody doing something. The playing out of a double bind is subtle and complicated and makes use of meta or abstracted messages between the people involved. This means that that the content of statement such as 'You really should go and see your sick Grandmother' not only carries the primary injunction there is a secondary injunction that 'you should visit her because if you don't I will think you are a bad person'

One other very interesting thing about people who are always telling you what to do, is just that. They are very good at telling you about the 'what' and are remarkably silent about the 'how'.

And the most prolific place to see this? Business and Marketing blogs. They tend to be full of Normative advice on the assumption that they all know better than you.

Try The Huffington Post for 50 Office Phrases You Should Never Use

No Bull's 26 phrases you should never use in writing

15 places you must put your keyword phrase an the why behind itfrom Niche Bot

39 Phrases Everyone Should Know How To Use

So if you are asking the question, Why Do People Always Tell Me What To Do?
check for 'short cuts' and check which 'mode' they are talking to in. Start paying attention to the nature of the advice rather than the content of the advice.

Saturday, 13 December 2008

X Factor oops

OK I was wrong :) Well done Alexandra - Hallelujah!

X Factor Result. JLS Win.

Have you thought about how you can prove that your X in the X factor counts? Sure it can be shown that vote was registered, but just how exactly can it be proven beyond doubt that the votes are reflected in the result.

I anticipate a JLS win.

This is because music market circumstances and the story-line provide too much fuel for the X Factor Winter fire. First group ever to win etc etc etc.

The Leaping Leprechaun will be hair today and gone tomorrow. Alexandra, clearly talented is too similar to Leona. She will have a career long after tonight though.

You might believe your vote counted, but then you believed in Santa once too.

Wednesday, 10 December 2008

Flash Gordon Brown Saves The World

UK Prime Minister Flash Gordon Brown told parliament today how he had saved the world.

Wearing a conventional business suit to emphasise the understated nature of his claim rather than his typical red outfit he was taken to task by opposition leader Ming of the Conservatives, who ridiculed the idea.

Fortunately the Queen thinks differently.

Flash - a-ah - saviour of the universe
Flash - a-ah - he'll save everyone of us
Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha
Flash - a-ah - he's a miracle
Flash - a-ah - king of the impossible

He's for everyone of us
Stand for everyone of us
He'll save with a mighty hand
Every man every woman
Every child - with a mighty flash

Flash - a-ah
Flash - a-ah - he'll save everyone of us

Just a man
With a man's courage
He knows nothing but a man
But he can never fail
No one but the pure in heart
May find the golden grail
Oh oh - oh oh

Tuesday, 9 December 2008

British Attempt to Re-Colonise America Rumbled

"Well Barack, only a few more days go and we're THIS far away from making the plan work"

The word is out the Obama family have been a British sleeper cell working for M16 as part of an audacious attempt to regain the USA as part of the British Empire.

Last minute legal attempts to deny Obama the Presidency have tried to throw a spanner in the works however the project still looks on course.

In a thinly veiled nod to the the pending coup, New York state is to be renamed Barackshire in homage to Berkshire home of Windsor Castle where allegedly his father was recruited to the cause by her majesty Queen Elizabeth over tea and crumpets. It is reported that the tea came from one of the crates rescued from Boston Bay being kept under lock and key in the Tower of London to be used for espionage recruitment purposes only.

In the deal America will be granted the same status as the Isle of Man, being allowed its own parliament and a preferential tax regime. Military command will however come under the Crown and a changing of the guard ceremony will be enacted at Disney World, along with opening of the Buckingham Palace Casino at Las Vegas.

In a financial deal the US will convert to £Pounds although UK pennies will become cents, which makes sense (sic) because of the switch to decimilisation. All distances will be measured in 'Klicks' to win over the hearts and minds of the military action film devouring red necks in both countries.

In a statement made by the British government they said "We are naturally delighted at this move, its been a long time coming, we can also lay to rest any Irish claims based on the O'bama argument"

Sunday, 7 December 2008

Should Atheists Take Out Spiritual Insurance Policies?

Well that's put the kybosh on it. Taking this just a freak quiz
has got me pegged as an atheist.

Dammed for all time now - bah...and all thanks to be lured off the path by Mary Ann LOL.

Well what do I care I know my Squidoo Lenses will live on till hell freezes over.

Is the US Car Industry Taking Everyone For A Ride?

President elect Barack Obama has a golden opportunity to 'encourage' the US car industry to re-evaluate its structure and perhaps more importantly the types of products they create.

Being an industry that is so tightly integrated into the practical and emotional needs of people must tempt it to arrogance with regard to its indispensability.

What a great game that must be. Become so big that government dare not let you go under because of the social consequences! Well looking at it as a layman the behaviour seems remarkably akin to extortion

The BBC write:

The 2008 winner of the Nobel economics prize Paul Krugman said he doubted the US car sector would survive, but that it was worth supporting it in the short term.
"In the end these companies will probably disappear," the economics professor at Princeton University said.

Well if that is the case then maybe Obama should simply turn on the windscreen washers filled with extra strong 'I ain't gullible fluid' and wipe them away.

Saturday, 6 December 2008

Lapland Xmas Attractions Having A Laugh At Customer's Expense

The one thing that scammers and con-merchants have is an instinct for 'situation'.

They know that if the circumstances are set up in the right way the normal psychological defences of people can be breached. This seems to have happened twice recently in the UK with two Lapland Christmas 'theme parks'. The first was in Dorset UK where a woman was scammed for £3000. The place was eventually shut down The second is in Staffordshire UK

Both examples seem to take advantage of the 'perfect storm' of Christmas, Credit Crunch and Consistency.

The organisers of these 'theme parks' know that going to Lapland Proper is clearly out of the reach of most pockets at this time. They understand the notion of 'pester power', and they understand the psychological urge that parents have to consistently provide a great Christmas experience for the kids just like last year even though money might be tight.

So, when somebody promises that they can make your kids dreams come true with a Lapland experience they tap into the 'brand associations' that have been created over the years. Just do it it yourself...Imagine...a trip to Lapland to see Father Christmas and his reindeer.
...What happened? I bet you created an image of expectation in your minds eye and that for £25/$15 that would be a price worth paying to see the smile on the faces of the kids. The next thing you do is 'promise' the kids that they're going to 'Lapland to see Santa'

That's when they've got you!! In order to remain 'consistent' you have to 'go to Lapland' and all critical judgement flies out the window. You end up out of pocket embarrased and angry because the 'promise' didn't match the cheapskate reality.

I suggest having the last laugh and do something else.

Friday, 5 December 2008

Karen Matthews: The People of Batley Carr Were Not Gullible

The sheer number of victims of Mother of all liars Karen Matthews and her less than brilliant confederate Michael Donovan is huge.

The whole community of Batley Carr were set up for a fall by the elaborate confidence trick of the Shannon Matthews kidnap.

It is clear from the residents of Batley Carr that they are naturally hurt and embarrassed by the way that their good neighbourly attitude and care for others was taken advantage of. This is rich territory for the Guller An affront to a community's identity of itself is betrayal of the highest order.

What is certain however is that it was not their fault. Frequently we are all guilty of blaming a person's character for the things that befall them rather than the situation they find themselves in. Known as Fundamental Attribution Error its that phenomenon of blaming the victim for their treatment.

Shopping – ‘he wastes his money’ yet the retail situation is created
to reduce our rational thinking and defences.

Charity – its the fault of the ‘lazy’ individual not their

Headlines ‘Callous uncaring wife kills husband in fit of rage’ yet she was bullied for 20 years

According to Anthony Pratkanis there is no such thing as the 'gullibility gene'. Something he explored in Pratkanis (2006) Why Would Anyone Believe Such a thing? A Social Influence analysis.In Sterberg,Roediger, Halpern. Critical Thinking in psychology

The people of Batley Carr were set up in a situation that was skillfully landscaped by Karen Matthews and her tearful performances. They were led to believe that she was a distraught mother, when her tears were more likely the expression of the inner psychological in-balance she was experiencing between the her knowledge of the truth of the situation and the lie she was expressing.

And the irony?...Matthews claims she's a victim. Well she would wouldn't she.

Friday, 28 November 2008

Mubai Terrorists - An Anatomy of Human Destructiveness

image credit AP and BBC

Anthony Pratkanis author and editor of The Science of Social Influence suggests that people in themselves are not gullible.There is no 'gulliblity gene'. What matters is the situation that is created in which people are taken advantage of.

Given that point of view, the victims of the Mumabi terrorists nor the Indian authorities could ever be accused of taking their safety for granted. That they were some how gullible for simply living ordinary lives in ordinary ways is an unfair and unjust criticism. Ironically nor could the perpetrators be accused of gullibility in believing they could walk away 'scot free'. Mind you, the chances are they were mentally prepared for 'martyrdom'. The classic case of it being OK to choose to end their own lives, and it not being OK to make that choice on behalf of other people.

It might be easy for the Mumbai Terrorists to rationalise their actions by wrapping their behaviour up in some anti-western philosophy (please explain the number of Indian casualties). However this attempt at their coping with the personal dissonance that must have been generated by their actions (the human desire for life & living versus the killing and carnage) can only be explained properly by the psyche not the situation.

The Mumbai attackers were clearly exhibiting what Eric Fromm in his book The Anatomy of Human Destructiveness calls the necrophilous or death loving character. These individuals are consumed by a desire to be close to death, and are driven to destroy life. In essence they are evil. They engage in life thwarting behaviours. Nothing must survive.

Contrast this psyche with the biophilous or life loving people. People who seek to enhance and preserve life. These are good people.

If we stand aside from the situation, if we unwrap the behaviour from its religious clothing and other philosophical rationalisations, we are left with the core of the argument. We are left with a war, not against terror. We have a war between Good and Evil.

Saturday, 22 November 2008

Living Love In The Public Domain

Being a parent in the socially networked 21st century presents us with some firsts. In the past I'm sure parents heard about their children's bust ups and, of course, were there for the anger and tears, they didn't actually 'live through them'.

I find myself in the weird situation of watching the events unfold blow by blow on Facebook.

I'm witnessing wall messages that are like cries in the dark. Pointed jibes, bravado and all sorts...

What I find curious is that modern youngsters seem to have no inhibitions whatsoever in sharing what is a rather personal event.

Perhaps Facebook has been become a 'cyber-god'? An entity where love/hate messages are left for the god to influence the outcome.

On the other hand maybe its just a way of letting everyone know that 'frankly they don't give a damn'.

My dilemma is...should I comment on the wall or just leave it be? What would you do? Remain a voyeur? Cancel Facebook Account?, remove participants as friends until it has blown over? or join in? Facebookers must be gullible if they don't think people are watching and following...

Friday, 21 November 2008

Like Twain The USA Is Unlikley to Wane

Any management student will tell you that Scenarios are designed to be provocative documents that explore a variety of potential outcomes.

So anybody wringing their hands expecting the USA to wane is being rather gullible. Not only that how can any of us know whether the assessment has any credence. For all we know it might merely be a deceptive move on the part of the intelligence agencies to lull their opponents into a false state of security.

It might even be a leak to inspire others to action, or as part of a persuasive landscaping initiative to prepare people's minds for additional military and security spending.

Imagine...if the document was something an antique salesman was trying to get you to buy, wouldn't you demand more provenance? You can read the full report on the link via the BBC website.

Sunday, 16 November 2008

It's Time To Manage My Blogging Workload!

The future is something which everyone reaches at the rate of sixty minutes an hour, whatever he does, whoever he is.
C.S. Lewis.

Some of you are no doubt much more ordered and organised than me.

I've noticed however, one particular thing I don't do when I'm blogging compared to how I work in the 'real world', and that is deciding what my key 'tasks' are, which are nice to have, which are essential, how much 'resource' I have and when the tasks should be done.

I reckon the lack of 'formality' in my blogging is because I see it as a 'hobby' rather than a job, I'm not answerable to anybody, and I've treated it as a casual exploration rather than an objective led task.

As well, you've probably come across that well worn description of what it's like coping with the deluge of information that is available from the net as 'like drinking from a fire hose'. Well, I'm not really talking about that experience although it is party related to it.

There is always something you 'can do' when you are blogging, communities to join explore and engage with, gadgets and widgets to try out, technical skills to develop, analysis to carry out, content to write, research to do etc.

For the most part since I started blogging I have approached these tasks on an ad hoc basis, you know, I'll drop in on Blogcatalog, next I'll tweak my Squidoo lens, or build another one, now I'll Twitter, next its over to Stumble etc etc. I've never really structured what I'm going to do on a daily or weekly basis and I've never really worked out how to send a 'shout' on Digg for example!! (cries of 'doh' from the readership) How 'corporate' would that be anyway and surely that's not what the blogosphere is about!!

The trouble with this scattershot approach is that I'm not consistent and I'm not managing the key resource I have - time. Why is consistency important? Well, I think its to do with the fact that I'm not sure what connection there is between community participation, commenting and readership of my blog, I sort of 'drop-in' from time to time but don't really 'join-in'. Not only that I have gnawing sense of frustration and disorientation about what it is do when switch on the laptop! I never seem to have sense that my blogging time is productive or 'finished'.

So...I'm going to try some 'structure'. Now, perhaps Second Brain, Feedster, Google Reader, My Space, Zune, Stumble, Squidoo, Delicious and a host of other of Reasonable Robinson's playgrounds will get some dedicated attention. I'm going to allocate a maximum of 1 hour per day to blogging. I'm going to limit myself to 15 mins for a post and 45 mins for other activities. This is going to be my 'blogging regime'.

Maybe I'll just have to 'let something go' but that is going to be difficult, I reckon I've got the blogging version of the Gambler's Fallacy, you know, 'aw, go on...just look at one more thing, add one more comment, its bound to make a difference to my visitor numbers...this next post is going to be 'the biggy'...thousands of readers...just one more...just one more...' The Bloggers Fallacy in action!

Everyday...half hour max...
1 read the news (usually the BBC)
2 read/ manage google reader
3 comment on other blog posts and Twitter
4 post something

And...for the other half hour...

5 Monday - Stumble, Digg, Reddit
6 Tuesday - Blogcatalog and My Bloglog
7 Wednesday - Second Brain, Feedster, Delicious
8 Thursday - Squidoo and other RR blogs
9 Friday - Yahoo Answers, Amazon lists, Fuel My Blog, Spicy Pages, Blog Explosion
10 Saturday - Predictify, ebook writing, monetize of not monetize
11 Sunday - out how to send a shout on Digg?

...this has just taken me 45 mins! now what! aaaarggggghhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!

Saturday, 15 November 2008

George Osborne's Selfish Genes

image credit Chris Doidge

UK Shadow Chancellor George Osborne is performing double loop gullibility at the moment. Does he seriously think (sic) that the public really believe his outburst about that the value of Sterling is genuine and informed concern for the economy?

Everyone must realise that it is not borne out of altruistic concern for the country. It is a shout from his selfish genes as they struggle to ensure the survival of his political derriere. This is not statesmanlike. It is behaviour that is more reminiscent of poorly run businesses where the managers are more concerned with internal and personal affairs than the real issues.

What chance would the country have if his 'sixth form' approach to politics was ever given the chance to 'do it for real'...we need politicians not management trainees running the country.

His second count of gullibility is making his half baked thoughts public. Doesn't he realise that as a member of parliament holding a notable position in her majesty's opposition that what he says might have adverse impact on the country? Poor judgement George...I think you need some time off to take the strain away...Have you considered a nice cruise?

Thursday, 13 November 2008

10,000 Little Lies

The announcement of 10,000 British Telecom Job Losses has been announced as a 'the latest gloomy news' for the economy.

Is that the truth? Read the article and the announcement from BT makes is clear that the job losses are part of an ongoing efficiency drive and likely to come from natural wastage rather than the scythe of the corporate cut backs director.

Associating this news with the state of economy is misleading.

Wednesday, 5 November 2008

Yes You Have!

The American people have made history. Watching from the UK the US election was a fascinating process to witness. For nations around the world that don't have it this is democracy in action.

Much of course will now be written about President elect Obama. Nevertheless his campaign adversary Senator John McCain should not be written out of the story. Putting political leanings to one side, his story is as much the example of democracy in action as Barack Obama. His effort and dignity in loss deserves the greatest respect.

And that is really the point. This was a political debate not some tribal mob war. Everyone involved had the welfare of the USA at heart and I'm sure the esteem of the USA will grow immeasurably around the world.

The expectations have been set very high. I sincerely hope that the American people are not gullible in their belief that every hope will be met to everyone's satisfaction in an instant and that becomes a reason not to have high hopes in the first place and a cause to criticise.

Congratulations America.Your fathers brought forth on the continent a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.You have shown that you now have a government of the people, by the people, for the people...and not just the people of the USA.

Monday, 3 November 2008

Sarah Palin Into Insignificance

Just how gullible Senator John McCain was in choosing Sarah Palin will become clear in the next 48 hours.

It was certainly an astute move to gain attention, and like all half baked social influence attempts it only addressed one aspect of the Persuasive Task.

Having gained attention with this Barbie-seque periphery 'cue', Senator McCain ensured that potential voters were then switched into 'central processing' mode which meant that their attention to logic and argument was engaged as they began to pay full attention to the political substance behind the puffery engineered by Sarah Palin's celebrity image consultants.

Sarah relied heavily on her 'palindrones', simple little phrases that looked the same backwards as well as forwards. Not a shade of grey or complexity amongst them and the natural position of the Crisis and Tame problem manager. Through these lenses every problem is simple and so is the solution that goes with it. Not exactly the appropriate outlook for a leader of powerful nation in globally interdependent world.

It seems however that the American people are much much smarter than her anti-intellectual expectations, and that she won't be getting the 'X' factor in the polling booths.

Sarah Palin - Has (been) Nail (in political coffin) Its a (w)Rap

Friday, 31 October 2008

Is Georgina Baillie The Satanic Slut Really A Saint?

So the BBC say they have drawn a line under the Brand Ross Sachs Affair. Heads have rolled wrists have been slapped, and possibly some backsides spanked, which is presumably right up Georgina Baillie's street if her page on the Voluptua The Satanic Sluts web site is anything to go by.

I find the BBC statement particularly interesting when it said there had been a "deplorable intrusion into the privacy of Sachs and his granddaughter".

Interesting and inconsistent. Intrusion into Mr Sachs's privacy yes, but Ms Baillie's? Let's look at some inconsistencies...Here's what her web profile says about her dislikes:

Shallow people, Narrow minded people, Chavs who yell things at me,
Having to sell out to earn money, Public transport, Dead fish.

Surely she should be siding with Brand and Ross against the 'narrow minded' uproar of 30,000 complainers to the BBC, its senior managers, The BBC Trust, Gordon Brown, David Cameron and Ofcom??

Now look at The Sun - They Disgust Me

Next take a close look at her web profile and the photograph in the bath tub:

Recently singer Katy Perry was Lambasted by The Sun for posing with a knife.

So, if I understand this all correctly, The Sun approves Georgina Baillie posing unclothed in a blood soaked bath tub with a knife but doesn't approve of Kerry Perry posing for a less blood soaked, more clothed photograph. Georgina dislikes unwanted intrusions into her private life yet has no qualms about placing her story with a major tabloid newspaper along with intimate images and opinions in her personal profile on her website, and finally she dislikes 'selling out' and yet has no problem making money out of the intrusion into her Grandfather's privacy.

I am a little puzzled. Unless, of course we are witnessing something psychologically very profound. Perhaps all of these things, Ross, Brand, Grandfather Sachs, The Media, and Herself represent...


Thursday, 30 October 2008

The Resignation of Lesley Douglas

The resignation of Lesley Douglas is a salutary warning to any manager about the real power and social influence of the 21st century digitally connected social media.

The surge of complaints that surrounded the Russell Brand and Jonathan Ross saga reminded me of the speed at which a news story can be Dugg or Stumbled. Opinions can be expressed and posted at the speed of light, and a digital lynching party can be called together in a moment.

In the past we would have heard the story and muttered displeasure over breakfast left it at that. Today sitting in front of TV wirelessly connected to your laptop the opportunity to 'fire' off a retort is very very easy.

It seems that people are focussing on the 'systems' and 'checks' which create an endemic and misplaced concern with bureaucracy in the Beeb. Lesley Douglas has resigned because of her gullibility and over reliance on 'remote control' management rather than managing live productions in the moment and actively participating in what is broadcast. It also reveals the complete lack of realisation and attention that is paid to the fully integrated nature of today's media by the broadcaster. This is a strategic lack of senior BBC management.

I agree entirely with the recent sentiments of Steve Hewlett who says active management of talent and smart editorial judgements is the name of the game, NOT stultifying creativity by introducing more bureaucracy and pandering to appartatchiks.

Lesley had to go. Jonathan was let down.

Wednesday, 29 October 2008

Sub Primate Debt Causes Eco Crunch

Can't pay your mortgage and you lose your house. Can't pay the planet we lose our home.

To emphasise the point the BBC reports today on The Eco Crunch that we are all heading for.

Just how gullible are we! In 1968 Kenneth Boulding wrote an article called 'The Economics of Spaceship Earth' (it can be found in Environmental Quality in a Growing Economy -H.Jarret (ed)

The gist of the article was to characterise two mindsets that can be adopted towards the use of the planet and its resources. One mindset the Cowboy mindset sees the planet as a huge exploitable resource, where you can take whatever you want and you can throw away what you don't need. The other mindset is that of the astronaut mindset who recognises the limitations of his/her resources and the importance and conserving and recycling.

See also Spaceship Earth

In the BBC article it is pointed out that the $1.2 trillion temporary stock value loss is dwarfed by he $4.5 trillion permanent loss of the worlds living and natural resources.

The 2008 financial crash was created by Sub Prime borrowing. The Eco Crash is created by Sub Primate borrowing - i.e. us!

"If our demands on the planet continue to increase at the same rate, by the mid-2030s we would need the equivalent of two planets to maintain our lifestyles," said WWF International director-general James Leape.

Yee Haw - gotta get me one of those spaceship things I'm heading off West pardner, or maybe North, even South, or East, there's a big universe out there boy!

Saturday, 25 October 2008

New Capitalism in Action - Now Then Sheffield

Questioning the prevailing business mindset of the unfettered market economy and challenging the lack of concern for social and environmental consequences of the mindless pursuit of materialistic 'need pacifiers' has really jumped to the forefront of people's attention.

This doesn't mean, of course, that everybody is now replacing Steven Hawkings Brief History of Time on their bookshelves with an equally less read copy of Marx's Das Kapital. What it might signal however is the realisation of many people as to just what extent they have abdicated their self control to the social influence initiatives of major corporations.

Milton Freidmann argued that the sole responsibility of an organisation was to maximise the return for shareholders, and this mantra has guided the excesses and short-termism of the banking fraternity with obvious consequences. The question is should Mr Friedmann's way be blindly accepted as the best way of doing business?

Now Then Sheffield is an example of a business model that challenges these assumptions and shows how we needn't gullibly accept prevailing wisdoms. Giving the disenfranchised and those with limited resources an opportunity to develop their talents and still make sufficient funding to keep the project alive is a key aim of a basket of projects that have been initiated by Social Enterprise. organisation Opus productions.

The magazine Now Then Sheffield is one of several projects that were introduced to me at a recent meeting that sought to bring academics and business people together to explore experiences and perspectives on different ways of 'doing business'

James Lock is one of the thought leaders behind the project and a brilliant example of someone who combines a socially motivated principle with a practical revenue generating edge. The key point though is that the projects are not 'self-serving' they have to be 'win -win'.

In that sense James and Now Then Sheffield is practical evidence of the Zeit Geist that pervades the blogosphere - collaborative effort, unconditional sharing of resources, empowering the individual, cultivating aspirations, acting in a sustainable and community spirited way. The magazine is distributed free and works on an advertising revenue model and these revenues fund project management. The bigger the distribution, the more advertising, the more revenue, the more people who need it are helped to get develop their talents.

The simple message is 'you don't need to step on the heads of others to achieve success'

Jame's project deserves your support, please visit his website with your feedback. He's looking into developing a social network presence and you might have some tips for him. If you think that the project deserves more attention please Stumble and Digg, it is much appreciated and in that way you can help make a difference to people who need it. We can all use our social influence to change the world.

Thursday, 23 October 2008

The Fuzz In A Fuss Over Fuzzy Logic

image credit

How ironic that the British Police a.k.a.The Fuzz are in hot water because they have apparently mis-categorised the crime of grievous bodily harm with intent. The full story can be found here BBC

As we know, scientific management a.k.a managerialism loves to measure things because "what you measure is what you get" This might be re-phrased as "how you categorise influences how you understand it"

The Fuzz seem to have been applying some Fuzzy Logic to the problem of serious crime, and in a classic example have shown how so called ontological entities can belong to more than one category based on the sense-making judgements of the observer.

The Home Office, of course argues that 'grievous bodily harm with intent' belongs to a particular and unambiguous category of crime. It just goes to show that their guidelines must have been ambiguous if alternative judgements are possible.

Because grievous bodily harm is a 'social contruction' this story shows exactly why positivistic scientific management is overly ambitious in its attempts to apply the rules of natural science to the social world.

Mark Easton of the BBC remarks that correcting the labelling means that it can now be revealed that serious crime against the person has risen, which got me wondering if there might be a way to make finer and finer distinctions of crime. How might someone feel who was very badly beaten up with intent not proved? Is this NOT a serious crime too?

Perhaps we should just measure 'crime' regardless of the varieties and use that as a bell weather of the state of society.

Sunday, 19 October 2008

The Gluttony Of Bankers

image credit

The gluttony of bankers becomes even more apparent as, despite their multi billion dollar rescues, we hear continuing stories of home repossession and business foreclosure. How dare they!

They ran squealing and squirming to the government to bail them out of the self indulgent mess they had got themselves into by calling on OUR MONEY to do it.

And now they think it is OK to take the homes away of the people that have helped them stay in business and generate fees for their bonuses. Would they give their bonuses back for selling the mortgage in the first place? People who work in banks should show some humility and respect to their customers. They should realise that a significant majority of people do not believe the PR they have created about themselves as 'upright, sober, professionals, deserving of respect in the community'

People who work at every level of banking need to realise that they are merely manipulative, deceitful, and self serving, and this goes right through to contact staff who were once cashiers and are now 'sales people'. They should all be ashamed of themselves and their so called 'profession'. They might even consider changing their jobs and do something that adds to the community and welfare of people.

What possible moral grounds do they have for repossessing homes and creating anxiety and misery in people's lives?

Thursday, 16 October 2008

Let's Dance!


Have a great day everyone. When you stop why not Digg and Stumble this! This is social influence in action.

Tuesday, 14 October 2008

Fortune Teller Saw It Coming

Unlike Norwegian MPSaera Khan, an MP for the ruling Labour Party who didn't!

As social animals we are predisposed to have an interest in trying to determine the likely future actions of others. Will they co-operate with us? or will they harm us in some way? The uncertainty of the future for some people is too much to bare and so they resort to all sorts of metaphysical ways of getting knowledge before it empirically arrives.

I wonder if there is such a thing as 'Future Addiction' where people become so obsessed with the 'not happened yet' that they will do anything to find out. The irony is that in an attempt to control the future IT actually controls you!!

Wednesday, 8 October 2008

Is School Anti Extremism Kit A Flawed Idea?

The proposal by UK Education Secretary Ed Balls to introduce an Anti Extremism Kit into UK Schools might be generously described as 'quaint' if it wasn't so superficial and unsophisticated. A managerial gimmick introduced by a managerial mind.

This 21st century equivalent of the Road Safety kit actually models the very complaint I have with the quality of his thinking. Changing simple behaviours such as crossing the road safely might be amenable to catch phrases like 'stop look listen' but Ed Ball's 'learning together to be safe' is evidence of staggering naivete in respect of the social influence of the dogmatic philosophies that drive extremism.

In other words its the Ideas that drive the Actions. Ed's weak idea has driven a weak action in the same way that extremist thinking drives extreme action.

The other problem that Ed's idea has is that it focuses attention on symptoms rather than causes by misplacing emphasis on the wrong thing entirely. In promoting the ideas of 'learning to be safe' he recommends paying attention to the 'things' people do rather than recognising underlying philosophies that inform their thinking. This fluffy, Utopian, teacher-esque approach to recognising the 'baddy is merely an attempt at improving 'description' rather than developing any level of deep understanding of what is going off.

Far more effective would be making Sophies World by Jostein Gaarder and Changing Minds by Howard Gardner compulsory reading in Schools. In this way children could be introduced to the essentials of critical thought and quickly learn to discriminate between dogmatic ideas and healthy skeptical thinking. Once they were tooled up in this way, they would be naturally skeptical of anyone who attempted to force an extreme ideology down their throats.

UK schools would be better off if they weaned themselves off the self-reinforcing subject focus of the curriculum and started teaching children how to ask questions rather than expect to be given answers. You've only got to look at the needy 'doe' eyed undergraduate to see what our education is turning out. Someone more skilled at rapid note taking than using their brains.

Philosophy should not be regarded as an irrelevant to everyday life and a subject that is studied at university by introspective idealistic undergraduates it is far too important for that and it needn't be stuffy and hard to access either.

Curious minds need their curiosity developed not dumbed down and their fears raised by vacuous ideas like this 'kit'. The kit won't keep children 'safe and secure' and neither will merely 'bringing things out into the open' like some tree-hugging therapy group. Sorry Mr Jones this is the real world we are dealing with and the gloves need to come off. The only thing that will keep our children and society safe is a clear understanding of how with think, the assumptions we make about how the world works, and the ways that mind-sets are formed and changed, and crucially why dogmatic mind-sets are so hard to shift!

Saturday, 4 October 2008

O.J. Simpson - Initials Explained

How many of you have wondered what O.J. stands for? Well now it can be revealed. The gullibility of Mr Simpson in assuming that his celebrity will render him untouchable from the basic laws of physics and the legal process can be explained by the new science of 'Nametics'

Nametics shows how your initials pre-dispose you to act out life patterns consistent with your initials. Following months of scientific analysis and the integration of rational processs with an understanding of social influence interpretation it has been shown that O.J. stands for Zero Judgement.

This post-natal condition implies that it is nurture not nature that caused Mr Simpson to act as he did. The forth coming appeal will be drawing on Nametics to make a case for his release.

Friday, 3 October 2008

Credit Crunch - What Business Are The Banks Really In?

As many of you will be aware, one of the most penetrating questions anyone can ask an organisation is "What business are you in?" One of the seminal thinkers to promote this question was Ted Levitt in the much vaunted HBR article Marketing Myopia.

The essence of Levitt's thinking lies at the heart of true strategic marketing philosophy because it causes business people to consider what their business 'does' rather than what it 'is'.

As far as Banks and Consumers are concerned I would like to raise attention to what I will call Consumer Myopia and the way this has been exploited by the financial 'services' (sic) industry.

I believe that it should be illegal for financial institutions to portray what they do as a 'service'. This is entirely misleading, and plays fast and loose with the notions of service and relationship marketing developed by the Nordic School and key writers like Christian Gronroos.

The use of the term 'service' is skilfully used to manipulate perceptions. It is an attempt by The Banks to create a positive Euphamism for the fact that they SELL financial products that are designed to make profit for the bank. Let me be clear, I am not against organisations making profits. I am against those that fudge the issue and pretend that they are organisations of care and welfare by hijacking the term 'service'. Does anybody seriously accept that Banks should be thought of in the same way as the Medical, Fire, Police, Military, Educational and other public services!

Banks ultimately are in the business of trust. We trust them (and they try very hard to convince us that they are trustworthy)with our hard earned cash. They know that as soon as we 'trust' we abdicate our power and control and significantly we relax our critical reasoning. Its time we got this back!

Look and listen carefully to the next bank adverts you see. Not the 'operational' ones that tell you about savings rates, but the one's that imply they are there to save you from the hassles and dangers of life. They constantly use a technique of social influence known as 'Fear and Relief' They bring to our attention all of the bad things that might happen in our lives and then position themselves as the provider of relief from fear. This is not service it is manipulation and exploitation.

The Banks and other Financial Institutions should only be allowed to state that they 'sell money products', and explicitly state that they are in the business of making money from these products. This information should not be in the small print but on the 'front page' in plain English in the same way that we have cigarette packet warnings.

For The Banks to imply that they can fund our material and consumer desires is merely exploiting the 'mind work' that the advertisers have done to us to 'soften us up'. The Banks should not be allowed to promote their 'money products' as means to acquire things that have not been saved for. That they can do this is fine, and an uninfluenced choice is the right of everybody. I'm taking issue with the fact that they conflate what they do as a business with the appeal of other products and therefore cannot ever have the best interests of their customers at heart! The sale of their products is never 'unbiased'.

Let's get the debate moving on this! If you think that Banks should be restricted in how they portray themselves as a 'service' perhaps you might Stumble or Digg this article, because they have alot to answer for.

Sunday, 28 September 2008

Twitter Develops Its Social Influence

You will, I'm sure, have read alot of posts about Twitter and its value or otherwise as a social networking tool.

I have dabbled with it for almost a year and in some ways never really 'got-it' beyond mere amusement value and the 'having a coffee' running gag.

The recent changes seem to make Twitter a more interesting environment and I've just come across a couple of sites via Tweets that you might find worth checking out.

Blog Vibrations Twitter Link which led me to Twitter 100 a neat idea that lets you see 100 twitter follows on one easy to read page.

I think the Twitter experience is a great example of thinking carefully about what any particular social networking idea can 'do' for you rather than getting transfixed about what it 'is'. In my case I am now using it as a source of ideas and opportunities rather than merely a 'gossipy' communications 'tweet'.

The short and snappy posts provide a continual roll of potential points of interest, so now I'm feeling less gullible about getting involved with Twitter in the first place which is clearly a good thing!

Saturday, 20 September 2008

A Critical Eye On Big Business and Big Media

No doubt the machinations of the global finance crisis will have you thinking about what is really going on in the world. What can you believe, what is certain and who can you trust.

In all probability the scales may be falling from your eyes and you might be taking a much more critical look at the way big business and big media try to socially influence our understanding.

The whole credit crunch is the dire consequence of the manipulation of our consumerist and materialist drivers. These drivers have been skill-fully manipulated for decades.

Herbert Marcuse critical theorist and philosopher pointed out the Big Media was creating a "numbing and homgenizing effect upon the consciousness of the mass of the population that inhibited reflection and normalized conformism" (Alvesson Wilmott - Making Sense of Management p69)

Fellow critical philosopher Eric Fromm also drew attention to the view that mass consumption ensured that we all became passive and unreflective consumers, chasing goods positioned in our minds 'as if' we needed them that were created out of a resource consuming unsustainable and wasteful system.

As anyone who has seen their savings devalued, possibly lost their home, lost their job, the end -game of the excesses of mass consumerism and the rampant materialist excesses of hedge fund managers with their less scrupulous financial cronies are de-humanizing and repressive. These people are the nemesis of the customer and the entrepreneur. They leach off the hard work creativity, risk taking and innovativeness of others.

As Fromm argues; the ever increasing need for goods undermines happiness and continuously spurs us on to feed the habit. A habit that was fed by the 'money pushers'of the last couple of decades.

Jurgen Habermas offers a key to critical thinking when he urges us to remain skepical about ideaology of any sort. He claims that ideologies are 'functional false beliefs' that are so widespread they are widely assumed to be true and we are made to believe they are true too (James Gordon Finlayson - Habermas p11)

Maybe the Credit Crunch will instigate a global consumer re-think and the scales will actually fall of the eyes. How much are you going spend this Christmas? and perhaps more significantly...why?

Monday, 8 September 2008

Thursday, 4 September 2008

When Hospitality Retailing Goes Wrong

So the Clowns at a major UK hotel chain have really shown how gullible they are when it comes to brand reputation and the impact of word of mouth.

The complete lack of understanding of even the basics of social influence has shown that certain people in the organisation seem to be completely out of touch with the mood of the nation.

That said, I suppose they might realise that Corporal Tomos Stringer is actually defending their freedom to be inept! The fact the organisation concerned won't even comment is an indication of responsibility that must permeate the whole organisation. Something they might do well to learn about by a spell on the front line.

Tuesday, 26 August 2008

Are Natural Sciences Better Than Social Sciences?

Director general of the Parque del Este zoo, Javier Hernandez pointed to a well known characteristic of gullibility when he commented that swallowed student Erick Arrieta had understimated the animals instinct

Had the unfortunate Mr Arrieta studied social psychology as well as zoology he would have certainly been familiar with the concepts of over confidence effect and optimism bias
which are descriptions of how people consisently overestimate their ability to prevail in situations where their capabilities are really not up to it.

The entertainment form of this behaviour is of course, American Idol and The X Factor auditions, where the delusionally over confident frequently get eaten alive.

Often natural scientists look down on social science as not being 'real' science, i.e. objective, rational and empirically based. The evidence it seems is before us, ssssssssocial ssssssssssciences can play an important role in making sure we don't get digested at work!

I could, of course, be over optimistic in thinking that you will believe this, and go on to Stumble or Digg it :)

Thursday, 21 August 2008

Americans! Are You In A State of Gullibility?

After analysing visitors from the USA to this blog, there are puzzling questions raised. Californians are the most frequent readers of Gullibility. Does this mean that they are the most concerned about being gullible? Might it mean they are most in tune with the tricks and technqiues of social influence and persuasion and therefore show a healthy interest in keeping abreast of instances of gullibility.

People from Rhode Island and South Dakota visit the least. Does this mean they are less concerned with gullibility? Could it mean that they are the most gullible in the USA or perhaps it means they are the most self confident and resilient to being duped and so don't need to read a blog like this?

Here are the visitor stats, what do you reckon is the story behind the numbers?

California 25.86%
New York 7.24%
Texas 5.71%
Florida 4.43%
Illinois 3.49%
Massachusetts 3.43%
Virginia 3.22%
Pennsylvania 3.14%
Georgia 2.95%
Ohio 2.90%
New Jersey 2.58%
Washington 2.17%
North Carolina 1.85%
Maryland 1.82%
Arizona 1.77%
Michigan 1.77%
Missouri 1.56%
Wisconsin 1.37%
Oregon 1.21%
Colorado 1.21%
Connecticut 1.18%
Indiana 1.10%
Kansas 1.02%
Alabama 0.94%
District of Columbia 0.89%
Tennessee 0.83%
Minnesota 0.83%
Kentucky 0.72%
South Carolina 0.70%
Oklahoma 0.64%
Nebraska 0.59%
Iowa 0.56%
Louisiana 0.56%
New Hampshire 0.51%
Hawaii 0.48%
Nevada 0.48%
Utah 0.38%
Alaska 0.35%
Vermont 0.32%
Mississippi 0.27%
New Mexico 0.24%
West Virginia 0.24%
Maine 0.24%
Delaware 0.24%
Idaho 0.24%
Arkansas 0.21%
Montana 0.19%
Wyoming 0.16%
North Dakota 0.11%
South Dakota 0.08%
Rhode Island 0.08%

Wednesday, 20 August 2008

All That Glitters Is Not Gold

image credit - BBC

For Britons, the release of Gary Glitter from a Vietnamese jail makes it clear that all that glitters is not always gold. On the one hand we have Olympic Team GB is glittering in gold, earned through commitment, hard work and talent and on the other hand we also have the news that fallen British pop idol Gary Glitter a convicted paedophile is ducking and diving in an attempt to avoid the restrictions that will be placed on him should he return to Britain.

It seems the psychology of Glitter is characterised by the avoidance of responsibility and in terms of social psychology he has shown a total disregard for the consequences of his behaviour on young and vulnerable people he comes into contact with. Taking advantage of innocence and vunerability is simply manipulation.

Fortunately his powers of persuasion are radically diminished since his time as an influential 70's pop star urging youngsters to 'be in his gang'. The money and social power that his musical success gave him clearly corrupted his judgement and his psychology and he has used his persuasive techniques in a very dark way.

It is puzzling why he couldn't have used his talent to more positive ends. He clearly consciously made a choice. Why couldn't he have made the positive choice that Britain's sports people have done? There is obviously something deficient in his attitude to people, values and norms. How Glitter's mental map of the world is made up is any one's guess, and I'm sure if we examined the 'attitude objects' in his world their elements would differ significantly from the majority.

That is why he needs restraining. He is 'boundary less' in his behaviour and clearly thinks that conventional social rules don't apply. Paedophiles need both their physical location controlling and their mind controlling because it is their take on the world that determines how they act.

Monday, 18 August 2008

Stepping Into The Gullibility Void

What's this!! No gullibility happening in the world at all, everyone is Olympicked Up, politicians like Musharraf are playing a straight bat. Nobody really thinks the Russians are going to leave Georgia completely.

I'm stuck. No one is trying to dupe anyone else any where on the planet, this has got to be first. The closest I've got is a Nepalese Head being sworn in as you can't be serious...just a head...on its own? That does need checking out.

Oh hang a moment...Jade Goody....yep Jade Goody...she might have just tripped the Gullible Alarm as she entered Indian Big Brother does she really think that this attempt at Impression Management is going to work for her?

Come back gullibility all is forgiven...I should know I signed up for Blogrush too

Wednesday, 13 August 2008

Saving Face At The Beijing Olympics

image credit

We might laugh up our sleeves at the gullibility of the Chinese Olympic managers for thinking that mime artist Lin Miaoke and CGI fireworks would ever lastingly provide a convincing face of innocent charm and dramatic excellence to an inquisitive and media savvy world audience.

However in doing this people in the West are considerably underestimating the power and cultural influence of impression management in the Chinese psyche.

The whole concept of Social Face is deeply embedded in the Chinese concepts of Mianzi and Lian such that all other things...including the feelings of little girls are subservient.

Perhaps the only thing that the Chinese are gullible over is the way in which they underestimated the lack of western understanding and acceptance of the so called 'polite lies'

I have first hand experience of getting this wrong the other way around. I was tutoring a class of masters Chinese students and the issue of in class presentations came up. I asked how many students 'feared' doing presentations and duly the whole class put up their hands. I then asked one student if they would like to come to the front of the class and explain what it was they feared and what they thought they were weak at, (thinking this would begin to overcome their worries and show the rest of the class that 'we all worry about the same things' BLUNDER!! The student graciously came to the front and then broke down in tears at having to publicly admit her fears and weak points. In the UK she would have got a round of applause!

I say be careful of criticising cultural norms that you don't understand.