My notes for Grouped: How small groups of friends are the key to influence on the social web by Paul Adams

Here are my notes from Grouped by Paul Adams

A quick read. A good introduction and overview to social science thinking and theory. For those of you with backgrounds in the social sciences this book will be good for you to read for ways to simply and clearly speak about the concepts with colleagues or clients without using jargon. For those of you from other backgrounds this is a good introductory book.

The most valuable concept is on page 89 where Adams writes about “Showing others’ behavior” as a way to influence people.  This “showing the activity of other people” is  known as social proof. On the social web that we are building there are escalating opportunities to collect and show activity streams. He gives many examples about how the web is “moving away from its current structure of documents and pages linked together, and toward a new structure that is built around people.”

For a business anthropologist, it is heartening to hear Adams call for rebuilding their businesses around people and social behavior.

Book notes by page number

What we’ve been already learned from the ability to observe and quantify human relationships has moved us away from the myth of the “influential” and toward understanding how groups of friends talk about businesses, brands, and products.

When we speak of five intermediaries, we are talking about an enormous psychological distance between the starting and target points. We should think of the five points as being not five persons apart, but five circles of acquaintances apart — five structures apart. This helps to see it in its proper perspective. — Stanley Milgram.

It’s easier to attribute success to an inspirational person, rather than try to understand the complex network in which they are situated.

Showing others’ behavior is a powerful way to influence people. Behavioral change precedes attitudinal change. Facebook’s Open Graph shows the activity of other people, and gives people tools to undertake the same activity.

We need instead to market toward emotion.

3 ways of encouraging people to change their behavior: 1) Change people’s environment: this is the most powerful way to effect change. Environment stimulates specific behaviors so it’s much easier to try something new in a new environment. 2) Increase the benefit relative to the cost of a new behavior. 3) Ensure that people observe others doing the desired behavior and then see others being rewarded for it. We learn new behaviors by observing the people around us.

It’s much easier to invoke behavioral change first, and attitudinal change later. You can motivate behavioral change by changing people’s environments, breaking down requests into much smaller requests, and ensuring people see others doing the desired behavior.

Permission marketing happens when people give marketers permission to send them messages.

Starting with small requests for behavioral change often eventually leads to attitudinal change.

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