Social Media and Tribes #3: Mob mentality

by Deepika Bajaj on June 23, 2010

Tribes today have shifted to multiple affinity tribes.   For instance, professional tribes, social identity tribes, etc. People move into and out of tribes online…..for work, fun, and play!

Herd mentality implies a fear-based reaction to peer pressure which makes individuals act in order to avoid feeling “left behind” from the group. Herd mentality is also sometimes known as Mob mentality. A related idea is that groups which hang out together tend to stick up for each other. As can be seen on MySpace, FaceBook & Twitter, members of a tribe will work to promote each other.

The Classic Mob-Mentality

When we think about play, from Facebook to MySpace and now Twitter, Mafia-themed games have more or less taken over. Mobsters, a game created by development company Playdom, is the most popular application on MySpace’s platform. The mechanics of the tribes of this games involves that  you can  join a “mob” with friends on a specific social network on which the game has been built on. You can carry out missions, including “killing” other players in rival mobs, in order to earn points. Your activities are broadcast, via news feeds or Twitter posts, to your friends.

Tapping into Ego

Every tribe has ego associated to it. And that is why violence is a popular factor in making these games successful. When someone kills your character, you tend to avenge it forcefully and engage in missions that feed your ego. Similarly, the tribe derives special pleasure when they “get on the top” or “get recognized” (a.k.a. earn respect of your tribe) for some mission. This gives the biggest boost to your ego.

Social Tribes reinforce your beliefs

Contrary to popular conventions about the Web opening minds, people are more likely to read information or participate in social groups that reinforce what they already believe. In some cases, a tribe can show dramatic increase in the undesirable action compared with doing nothing at all, because it demonstrated that lots of others engaged in the behavior.

Is the Tribe capable of making a positive change?

Yes.

It simply depends on what is your message to them. And its quality.

Look for early adapters of your message and bring them into your fold. They are more likely to have a BIG impact when you have a critical mass. It has been seen that you get more comments on a blog where other people are commenting, you get more subscribers when you show the number of people who have subscribed or number of tweets for a specific post.

Try to keep the message positive and focus on where you want to go. Most likely people will have no fixed thinking of the future and you can then enable to act in a positive behavior. And since they belong to this tribe of positive change, soon they will adapt the behaviors that will have positive impact on the Tribe’s future.

Related Articles

Previous post:

Next post: