January 1, 2013
If you have spent any time at all on social media recently, you probably ran across something sponsored by ListChallenges. The website is a clearinghouse of surveys that works overtime to capture users’ attention, and then their information. Ronn Torossian says this list building tool is also a tremendous PR tool taps into several factors that humans tend to find irresistible.
The premise is simple, you go to the website and complete a quick “click if you’ve seen it” survey list. There are also “heard it” or “know it” options. Your answers are scored against the entire list. When finished, users are given the option to “share”, or “post” their results. Or invite their friends to play. It’s almost irresistible. But why? Torossian explains:
#1 – We want to test ourselves
Humans love to see how good we are at stuff. Particularly if there’s no one there to see, or hear, or critique. It’s why we sing in the shower, or dance when no one is watching. These tests are also completely meaningless. We won’t have to “remember” anything, and there’s literally no way to lose.
#2 – We want to belong
Hey, this invite was sent to you by a friend, presumably a friend that you are about to discover something in common with. This is a massive need for the vast majority of people in the world. We desperately want to belong to something. Anything.
#3 – We want to be better than others
Now, this is a funny one. See, for the most part, we don’t want to think we are superior, or better. We want to feel like we are, silently…and we don’t want to feel like a jerk for wanting to feel this way. These surveys allow us to harmlessly “prove” our superiority in a way that, we all know, “really” doesn’t matter. But it does.
Taken together these psychological experiments can be incredibly effective at capturing people, and getting them to volunteer information they would NEVER offer to a stranger.