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Social Web: How to Influence People

Yes - 50 Scientifically Proven Ways to Be PersuasoveMy social web class had to watch a 15 minute video by Robert Cialdini called How to Influence Others this week. It is basically about getting people to say yes. Like all skills, the understanding of how to influence others can be used for both good and evil. Let us hope the majority of the readers of his book are oriented toward the light. The six principles his research uncovered are:

  1. Reciprocity
  2. Scarcity
  3. Commitment and Consistency
  4. Consensus (social proof) is the idea that people want to follow the lead of similar others
  5. Authority
  6. Liking (how similar we feel to another person)

His talk is pretty thoughtful. I appreciated that he clarified how we must develop the subtle awareness to know when people are using the techniques in the book disingenuously. When used for authentic reasons they can be very beneficial. I think I’ll check out Yes!: 50 Scientifically Proven Ways to Be Persuasive after school wraps up.

Finally Getting into Video

I bought a video camera off of a guy whom I met via criagslist.org last year with intent to start sharing my adventures with a larger audience. I hope to utilize the user-generated, on-demand video services available to add energy to realizing a just and regenerative civilization. No minor undertaking! Like most of my new ambitions, there has been a lag time of about a year between the original idea and when I actually got down to it. This particular endeavor got a boost from my Using the Social Web for Social Change class at BGI. To get our feet wet, we each had to produce a short video introducing ourselves and blog to the world. Here is take 1 and rolling…

iMovie made it waaaay simple to actually pull this off. It was about a 5-hour endeavor with quite a bit of fumbling and trial and error to get the timing of the clips, transitions and text to flow well. iMovie’s feature set is a bit limited but this also makes it pretty painless to jump into. It integrates with iPhoto and iTunes so it is really easy to pull in media from those channels. Fortunately, I had shot some video this past summer so I had something to work with. Most of my finished product is actually not video because I didn’t have that much usable footage. This forced me to figure out how to use stills, transitions, text overlays and background audio – pretty much all the features iMovie had to offer. I pinched the audio clip from a live Ravi Shankar recording that I love. It’s copy written material but I think the way I have used it counts for “Fair Use“. This means I will probably not run into problems with YouTube and their Terms of Use police. The specific legal jargon relevant in this scenario is that my work could be considered: transformative. The relevant part being:

Repurposing a work to aid identification of the base work is also generally transformative.

I gave credit to Ravi Shankar at the end so I think I am essentially aiding the identification of his base work with the use of his audio. Hopefully YouTube is cool with this. We’ll see.

Feedback and comments are welcome!