Outcome of an Experiment

Five days ago, as promised, I asked my Facebook peers (about 160 people) to post an important question. If all that people need is a concrete opportunity this would suffice to activate their latent need for expression, I thought. Any bets?

Guess what, nothing happened. Well, not quite. I had prepared myself for some mockery and the like, but even that didn’t happen. Silence.

And once again, the question becomes: Why don’t people engage? Now we’ve successfully eliminated the lack of opportunity as sole explanation, what else is there?

  • Personal reasons: Why should they respond to someone who’s not a leader in that field or at all in their opinion? Reversing that argument uncovers that people might respond to a leader’s question only because she’s a leader, not because people genuinely want to.
  • Reward: There was nothing in it for them. Or not enough that was plain to see.
  • Timing: The question came in on Thursday, but they had all their important questions sorted out by Wednesday. You bet.
  • Fear. Responding to someone asking you to post an important question is considered as serious exposure rather than taking the opportunity to get something going.

The problem is, you cant’t really find out. When people are not willing to ask the question itself, it’s hard to believe they are more willing to tell you the reason for their behavior (most of them wouldn’t know anyway). All you can to is consider this circumstance. Trying to overcome the three real obstacles at once is hardly possible without ridiculing yourself. Ask any advertiser about this and brace yourself for an hour-long lament.

Yet there was one response (the only one) that made me think enough to write a single post about it in the next few days.


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