The desire to be more important or attractive than others – and in this day and age, also the desire not to look stupid. Think fear.
Think about the ability to manipulate people based on their fear of being less important, less attractive, or looking stupid. Easy.
- Linkedin needs your data in order for the site to be useful. So they use language like “your profile is 30% complete” (oh dear!) and offer to search your contacts list for other linkedin members. If you think this is silly, explain the existance of sites such as toplinked.com, which provide a ranked list of the most linked-in individuals on the service.
- Fear of looking stupid leads users to trust sites which display security certifications more than those which do not. However, Ben Edelman discovered that the sites displaying security certifications are actually significantly less trustworthy than those which forego certification. Way to go, evil sites!
- Southwest Airlines have a boarding process which rewards early checkin and being at the gate on time – you don’t get an assigned seat, you get an assigned boarding order (and then choose your own seat). Fear of having the worst seat on the plane means that people arrive at the gate early. Southwest is the only profitable US airline at the moment.