This article by Copyblogger founder Brian Clark use the influence of social media to demonstrate how to frame a message to change group behavior. It shows that the language you choose can actually make people do more of the bad thing that you don’t want them to do.
“You want the momentum of social proof aligned with where you want to go, not with where things are,” Clark said.
The National Park Service experimented with signage to stop theft of petrified wood scraps in the Petrified Forest park in Arizona. This message — “Your heritage is being vandalized every day by theft losses of petrified wood of 14 tons a year, mostly a small piece at a time” – reminded visitors that “everybody does it.” This message – “Please don’t remove the petrified wood from the park, in order to preserve the natural state of the Petrified Forest” – resulted in fewer thefts.
So what did I do? I took one of their examples and shared it on Facebook like this: “Researching an article on social media, I stumbled across this fact: Four years ago, 22 million single women did not vote. To my young, single female friends: Your rights as a woman — rights my generation battled for and won 40 years ago — are under siege. Go to the polls in November and support the candidates who commit to protecting your freedom and health.”
D’oh! In that post, I reminded my single female friends that it’s a hassle to vote and maybe can’t change anything. I should have left out the statistic and just posted the last two sentences.