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I was watching Max Headroom this week, and I noticed the media has supreme control over what people think about stuff in that show. And it got me thinking of a few things.

First, can a collective group influence an individual through repetition?

Second, how much group influence is required?

I see this behavior in social networking sites on the internet and in internet message boards. The challenge is that I don't think one person can really influence a group. I think that one person needs a group of followers that tell other people that one guy's idea are right. Eventually, even if the guy is wrong, the collective group will start to believe that maybe he is right.

If you go to, there is a collective group that that pimps Indie games and Exalted. While the initial visitor's expectation is a neutral place to discuss rpgs, the messages are really about pimping those two items. Normal discussions are found between those threads. And new visitors will run out and buy those games. You regularly see "Sell Me on . . " whatever threads. So another way of saying that is, hey group, influence me.

This got me thinking about the impact technology will have on the sins in Shadowrun. Can a group of runners get together and influence others through technology?

If a group of ten regulars here went over to and posted threads about Shadowrun and talked about it, would that influence that board to like Shadowrun? Can message boards impact us that much?

You also hear this on the radio. The two djs will decide that something should be a certain way, so they discuss it. Then, they ask for phone calls. They screen the calls and put folks on that agree with them. Finally, they end by saying that because others agree with them that their idea is right.

This then brings me to the technomancers. What can a collective group of technomancers do to influence others? How does AR really impact people's buying decisions?

Talia Invierno
Groupthink can be an amazingly powerful tool, but it needs a certain core follower tipping point to be effective to the point where it creates a consensus illusion. Specifically, two possibilities.

Where everyone within the clique of power keeps reinforcing the same message among themselves, the message permeates literally to the point where no other message can penetrate the sanctum. This pattern was observed with the inner circle of advisers during Watergate: one of the few times relatively objective analysis is available, and that relatively soon after the event.

Alternately, groupthink can be evoked by creating a "buzz": where apparently average people -- or those belonging to a perceived leadership echelon -- start talking positively about some person or product. It's already a marketing technique used by advertisers, perhaps most effectively on Internet forums (because of the pseudo-anonymity that allows anyone to look "average" -- this use of planted forum usernames has been documented in a few Monsanto lawsuits), although seemingly "average" people are now often hired to talk about the new product among themselves even on the street (always with possibility to overhear) -- but not to others, unless others specifically ask. Your DJ example with carefully screened calls also draws on this usage.

Interestingly, to be effective, it is crucial that such talk must be among the in-crowd only -- but in an open forum, so that it can be overheard. The specific attitude of non-overt invitation evokes a desire to be among the few and privileged in on the lastest "in" thing: even though the specific point of such talk is to spread the word without seeming to spread the word. In contrast, the second quickly becomes perceived as just another kind of sales pitch / pitiful attempt to boost popularity.

As to the influence upon people's buying decisions of AR (and for that matter of any pervasive background advertising): the point is not to sell specific products, but to shape brand recognition specifically and attitudes generally. The less a person is aware of this real purpose and believes advertising only tries to sell a specific product, the more effective that advertising. While subliminals don't work to project specific messages, they have been shown to help shape attitude.

Obviously this can be put to use in any number of ways through AR, limited only by creativity ...
Rotbart van Dainig
QUOTE (tweak)
What can a collective group of technomancers do to influence others?

Learn the right Psychotropic CF. nyahnyah.gif
Demonseed Elite
A possibly over-hyped book, but The Tipping Point can give a lot of ideas about this subject. I read it a few months ago and I know it gave me Shadowrun ideas.
Talia Invierno
From generalities, into specific techniques.

I'll start with the classic: shape public opinion around a major event. Doesn't matter whether or not the event actually happened.
Rotbart van Dainig
QUOTE (tweak)
I was watching Max Headroom this week, and I noticed the media has supreme control over what people think about stuff in that show.

Then try 'Wag the Dog'.
Talia Invierno
I liked that one!
Rotbart van Dainig
But the OST didn't contain 'Good old Shoe'. Or any Song from the film. frown.gif
QUOTE (tweak @ Jul 14 2007, 09:05 AM)
First, can a collective group influence an individual through repetition?

That's a load of rich buttery goodness. But seriously, advertisers make billions every year worldwide doing that for a living.

The GURPS Transhumanism game deals with the issue of "meme wars" extensively. Good inspiration for that kind of campaign.

As a freedom-loving individual, it's frightening to think of what the marketing system will be capable of with just a little more technology (and a little less government regulation). As a supervillian, it's really exciting.
Talia Invierno
The technology is already here.

(A weak overview of neuromarketing ... probably should edit it, if I get around to it.)
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