Sunday, August 25, 2013

Espoo Ciné

This film festival showcased more politically correct SWPL themes than any film festival I've seen. Many films dealed with LGBT, immigrant and disability themes. The most vocal advertiser hyped an organic cider, and the movie ticket was pink. Maybe it got a lot of state subsidies and the man who paid the piper called the tune? I went to see two historical movies.

VIRU - stories from a hotel (2013)

This documentary by Taru Mäkelä centered around Hotel Viru, an Estonian hotel built by a Finnish subcontractor in early 1970s. First, the construction of the hotel was filmed so that footage from advanced Western tools and ways of working could be used as education material. In the eighties Viru symbolized good life for Soviet elites, and travellers brought Western goods and influences to the Soviet union. After Estonia regained independence, the hotel was privatized and lost majority of the staff and cultural speciality. I enjoyed the film since it shows how the movements of historical tectonic plates play out in people's personal lives.

Ende der Schönzeit (2012)

This German historical triangle drama starts when an escaping Jew ends up as a farmhand to a farm where a married couple lives. As a drama film it is perfect: Humans behave according to human psychology. The people who have lived in the same village for tens of years can read each others just right, and are confused and foolish in credible way. The plot could use any number of war-related plot twists - like surprise inspections from Nazis - but instead stays consistent and watertight: the main characters know that an inspection would be possible and take effective measures to successfully prevent them using their long experience of local conditions! That's what humans do.

Unfortunately the film suffers a little from politically correct "preachitis" as immigrants are needed make more vibrant an environment where the patriarchy of white, German, heterosexual males (the root of all evil) beat their wives when drunk.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Facebook Like Ads And Cialdini's Six Principles of Influence

Multi-level marketing companies like Tupperware and Herbalife have used small-group cohesion to gain a marketing edge for ages. Now Facebook "like" ads are tapping into the same social dynamics, and doing it on massive scale to advertise any brands. This post analyzes Facebook "like" ads using Cialdini's theory to show the puppet strings which Facebook pulls to control its users.

Cialdini's Six Principles of Influence

Robert Cialdini is a professor of psychology and the author of the popular science book Influence, which is structured around Six Principles of Influence:

  1. Reciprocity: We generally aim to return favors, pay back debts, and treat others as they treat us. For example, if a colleague helps you when you're busy with a project, you might feel obliged to support her ideas.
  2. Commitment and consistency: Once we are committed to something, we're more inclined to go through with it because we have a deep desire to be consistent. For example, various foot-in-the-door tactics aim to get you committed to a small deal and then accept bigger concessions.
  3. Social proof: People find "safety in numbers" and are more likely to do what they see others doing.
  4. Liking: We are more influenced by people which are familiar or similar to us and whom we like.
  5. Authority: We are more likely to comply to requests made by people in position of power or who are respected experts like doctors.
  6. Scarcity: We are more likely to accept a deal, which is limited or which we temporarily get on favorable terms.

How Facebook Like Ads Differ From Regular Ads

While regular ads show only the sponsor's message, Facebook "like" ads also add a tagline "John Smith liked ConsumerBrand", where John Smith is one of your friends. Out of Six Principles of Influence, "like" ads automatically include Social Proof - at least one of your friends already likes ConsumerBrand - and Liking - someone familiar you like and perhaps even respect and admire, is using ConsumerBrand.

Regular ads have to fall down to milder forms of Social Proof and Liking, for example "million nobodies have purchased this book" or "a household name celebrity is using this product.", while "like" ads can tap directly into product recommenders whom Facebook knows to be familiar to you, tapping straight into the imitational instincts which keep small groups functional.

Hint for Facebook: Show More Credit Card Images

Cialdini's Influence contains one more tip which Facebook could use to move more money out of users' pockets to their own pockets, sending the subliminal message "Buy! Buy! Consume! Consume! Obey! Obey!" and implementing the Boydian satanist principle "the strong rule the weak and the clever rule the strong" even more effectively.

Within modern life, credit cards are a device with a psychologically noteworthy characteristic. They allow us to get the immediate benefits of goods and services while deferring the costs weeks into the future. Consequently, we are more likely to associate credit cards ... with the positive rather than negative aspects of spending.

Consumer researcher Richard Feinberg wondered what effects the presence of such credit card materials had on our tendencies to spend. ... First, restaurant patrons gave larger tips when paying with a credit card instead of cash. In a second study, college students were willing to spend an average of 29 percent more money for mail-order catalog items when they examined the items in a room that contained some MasterCard insignias; moreover, they had no awareness that the credit card insignias were part of the experiment. A final study showed that when asked to contirbute to charity, college students were markedly more likely to give money if the room they were in contained MasterCard insignias than if it did not (87 percent versus 33 percent.)

Friday, August 02, 2013

Freedom Lite

Today, I was fired from my job. The reason was the usual: The company could use my work input but couldn't afford to pay my salary.

Because of the Finnish system of income-based unemployment, in the end, nothing happened. I can still repay the monthly interest and mortgage repayment with the unemployment benefit. Since I don't have any expensive hobbies or a family to feed, the income is quite enough for all practical purposes.

If FREEDOM ORGINAL(tm) means financial independence or alternatively earning an income from your own business that is not dependent on any single customer, then what I have now is FREEDOM LITE(tm): indistinguishable from FREEDOM ORIGINAL(tm) in the short term, but in the long term I will have to earn my income somehow.

Until that, I'm FREE.

If I use the newfound FREEDOM responsibly, I just may find a way to earn an income without working for salary, although that's realistically speaking improbable, because I don't have a proven track record of earning income without working for salary. But a guy can always dream.

And make a concerted, planned effort to implement that dream.