How to convince people of the truth
Would you like to convince people of the truth of some unpopular belief? (Not that the Lion of the Blogosphere believes anything unpopular, this is purely hypothetical.) Trying to use logic to convince people of your truth will not work, because people don’t think logically, they think emotionally. People will believe or do anything as long as other people like themselves believe it or do it.
In a recent Wall Street Journal column we discover:
In a study conducted with the U.K.’s tax-collecting service, Martin saw an increase in the return rate after enclosing messages such as, “nine out of ten people in Britain pay their tax on time,” on tax forms. The return rate increased even more when the information was more specific, referring to the number of people who filed tax returns on time within their town or postal code.
So suppose you write in a blog comment that rosé is the superior wine (which is a pretty unpopular belief). When someone then disagrees, you might try to respond with facts and reasoning:
There was an understanding, as early as the time of the Ancient Greeks and Roman winemakers, that harder pressing and lettings the juice “sit” for a period with the skins would make darker, more heartier wines but the resulting wines were often considered too harsh and less desirable.
But no one is going to pay attention, because they know that rosé is only consumed by the kind of people who live in Staten Island.
It would be much better to post another comment with a sock puppet who writes :
I agree with you, and in fact a lot of the people here in the Hamptons secretly drink rosé wine when no one is looking because it tastes so much better.
This creates powerfully convincing social proof that trumps calls to reason or facts.