Influencers from Around the World – Anti-Social Proof

This month’s Influencers from Around the World post is from Yago De Marta. If you’ve followed along in this series then you know Yago hails from Spain and travels quite often to Latin America. He is a public speaking coach and media trainer with much of his work centering on politicians and businessmen. You can connect with Yago on Facebook and LinkedIn.Brian, CMCT
Helping You Learn to Hear “Yes”.
Anti-Social ProofEvery single day we see examples of the power of influence of social proof. As we are surrounded by people it is logical to think social proof is the principle of influence that occurs more often, widely and systematically in society. We strive to dress differently and end up dressing just like everyone else. We try to be independent and then just listen to the same music that millions of others do. We look for reasons to justify our support for our football team or our political party, but in the end, in all these activities lies the power of social proof in a persistent and powerful way.No matter how high we build the buildings; no matter how beautiful our musical compositions are and no matter if one day we are able to unravel the mysteries of the atom we are animals. Remember that – we are animals. So we learn something while we watch a group of monkeys or the organization of ants. In this sense it is worth noting the work of a Mexican that has been going on for more than ten years in California. There Cesar Millan rehabilitates dogs with problems. To look beyond their training sessions is a lesson of the continued use of Reciprocity, Consistency, Liking, Scarcity, and Authority. But what catches my attention most is the therapeutic use of Social Proof.
All of this reminds me of the examples shown in Robert Cialdini’s book Influence Science and Practice about the process of overcoming phobias. In the case of Cesar Millan, he uses the pack (the group) to rehabilitate dogs. It’s curious to see it especially with the more contentious dogs. Cesar introduces a dog to the pack and the new dog gradually learns the correct behavior with the strength of the group. The process is more than observation and learning. The process is more like entering into a large wave that pushes you and your attempts to resist beyond.We know from Millan’s pack example that social proof is powerful, but what is its limit? If we define a perfect environment to implement this principle it would not be unusual to choose the following:

– Number: The number of people determines the power of influence.- Time: The more exposure the greater the influence of the group.- Context: When the group is joined by the historical time and perfect place the greater the influence.- Authority: When group has an Authority reference the influence is increased.

Let’s shift gears now and look at probably the most important example of “Anti-Social Proof” in history. This is a tribute to all who have ever been able to resist and get out of the wave. These are the people who write our history!August Landmesser was a worker in Blohm und Voss shipyard in Hamburg, Germany. In 1931 he had joined the NSDAP (National Socialist German Workers Party) hoping to get a job through their membership of the party. In 1938 he was taken prisoner by the Gestapo, who condemned him for “Rassenschande.” Article 2 of the Law for the Protection of German Blood and Honor. That article prohibits the extra-marital sexual relations between Jews and Germans. In 1935, his request for marriage to a woman was rejected due to the Jewish origin of the future wife of August. After several trials, Landmesser was finally sentenced to two and half years of hard labor in the concentration camp Börgermoor. August Landmesser became known in history because of a photograph in which he is seen with his arms crossed. It was at the christening of the boat (now a school) of the German navy Horst Wessel in 1936. That day, the Fuehrer Adolf Hitler was present at Hamburg, when August refused to greet him as the thousands of comrades who worked in the shipyards did.
In early 1941 August was forced to work in factory that produced cars for the army. After that he was forced to join the I Battalion “999.” From the end of that year forward there was never any news about him. Maybe he died in one of the battles in which the battalion participated.The lesson we get is this: Maybe we are surrounded by thousands of people; maybe we are supposed to act like the rest; maybe we are inside the perfect wave (the perfect backdrop) but we always have the ability to choose our behavior, we always have the last autonomous capacity to decide and break against the wave instead of riding along with it.August took his decision at the time of history where Social Proof and Authority were not known as Principles of Influence. They were the law and he could find the force among the thousands of people around him.
However, it is worth reflecting on the importance of the number of people. With so many people around, he felt protected as it was difficult to notice him. That is, it is assumed that if there had been a dozen or so people around him he would have raised his harm. If you are interested in learning more about this story visit these sites: Yago

5 replies
  1. David Herrero
    David Herrero says:

    In this last case, mister August would have probably raised his harm, but not because of the social influence, but because of fear, which is very different. Or maybe not so different.

  2. Deborah Sanz Ejarque
    Deborah Sanz Ejarque says:

    Interesante, Yago. En realidad eso es lo más difícil. No seguir corrientes, pero tampoco enfrentarlas. Y encontrar el propio camino. Aunque es probable que alguien lo haya recorrido antes. Gracias.

  3. Yago de Marta
    Yago de Marta says:

    Así es, y por lo tanto lo que es imperativo es saber de qué modo la corriente nos influye…Sólo así podemos esquivarla.


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