Impact, not Social Norm, that Drives People


So I was watching a Tedx Talk that said, the most effective way to tell people to do things is to say that that thing is a social norm, that many other people do that too. Like for example in the Talk, how in hotel room, saying  “Other guests reuse their towel” is more effective rather than saying “Reuse the towel to protect environment” to make people reuse their towel.

I don’t know, for me the saving environment thingy is more likely make me reuse the towel. And the reason it doesn’t take effect on some (or most, according to her) people is that maybe people don’t see that their act will really making effect. People don’t see reusing their towel will really protect the environment.

Like on telling people to not litter case. I think people don’t litter simply because other people litters, but because If they don’t litter, it will still dirty anyway because other people still do. And people only  use majority behavior simply as justifications of their action. I find it unlikely that people will litter in a clean environment.

Why showing that it will take effect will work, take her example about how a water leak in your pipe. It can cost you money if it don’t fix. It will be effective if you show the effect that if they fix it, their water bill will reduce. Not because people hate losing as she point out (I mean, yeah, that, too) but it is more because people can see the impact of the told action. That is what will make people do it. And I’m agreeing to her point about personalized your statement but not for the things she point out, but because the impact people care the most is the impact to themselves.

I quite agree with few of her points, only not agree with what the conclusion is being “promoting things as social norm for it to be followed” but more like “showing that the action, the thing that you tell them to do, will take effect”. But of course, if things are “social norm” it is more likely to take effect. If you break social norm, it will have impact on you. People wouldn’t want that.

It may seems like I’m saying the same thing as she is, but the base that I’m using is different so it make all the difference.

Let’s go back to the the first example I wrote above as been said by her:

Saying  “Other guests reuse their towel” is more effective rather than saying “Reuse the towel to protect environment” to make people reuse their towel.

In this case, if you’re not reuse your towel, you will not suffering the impact of breaking “social norm” because you’re doing it in the private-ness of your hotel room. Thus saying “Other guests reuse their towel” will be as ineffective as saying “Reuse the towel to protect environment”. And I don’t believe her saying that it is more effective because she doesn’t prove her statistic in a more mathematical manners. I say the most effective way of saying it would be “We will not change your towel so please do reuse it”, that way people will see the impact of their action (of not reusing the towel) and definitely will follow.

I was going to make a long post to explain my point but I’m just too lazy. I mean, it’s 3 AM in the morning and I don’t even know why I’m writing this to begin with.

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