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Internet Psychology from Graham Jones

Internet Psychology from Graham Jones

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Published by Graham Jones
Welcome to another weekly digest of material from my website grahamjones.co.uk.
Welcome to another weekly digest of material from my website grahamjones.co.uk.

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Published by: Graham Jones on Jun 01, 2013
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Internet Psychology fromGraham Jones
Welcome to another weekly digest of material from mywebsitegrahamjones.co.uk .Enjoy. 
Reports of the death of the HighStreet are premature
Retailers have had a tough time in the past few years – some of which has been of their own making – but they don’t deservetoday’s news saying thatone in five shops will closesoon becauseof the Internet. According to a new study, the amount of shoppingwe do online is set to double, putting bricks and mortar retailersout of business.Given that the recession itself has closed an average of one in fiveHigh Street shops, another one in five disappearing will decimatetowns and cities across the nation. Can you imagine your localtown with only about half the shops it has now? That’s the kindof future being predicted.There is little doubt that online shopping is having an impact ontraditional retail. But much of that is because of the intransigenceof old-fashioned retailers and their lack of willingness to respondto the rapid changes going on. HMV and Jessops are but twoexamples of old-style thinking amongst retailers; their collapsepartly came about because they were simply too slow to respondto the online world.Bookshops are also proving they are not keeping up with theimpact of online shops. For instance, how long does it take you tofind a book on Amazon? Probably just a handful of seconds. Howlong does it take to find someone to help you find the same book in a retail store and then find that book? Several minutes. We areused to seconds, but the bricks and mortar bookshops are giving usminutes. The technology to allow us to find books in seconds in abricks and mortar stores already exists and has existed for decades– warehouses use it. There is no reason why book retailers can’tuse such technology – it’s just that they are either unwilling to doso, or move at such a snail’s pace they are planning to introducethe technologies in their next ten year plan. Ho hum.Many retailers, though, have seen the writing on the wall andare responding. Indeed, retailers nowdominate the world’s socialmedia brands, suggesting that they are getting to grips with thethreat of the online world and integrating it much more into theiractivities.In my forthcoming book,Click.ology, I suggest a way out forembattled retailers and that is to make their real world storesmuch more akin to the online experience we are now used towith Internet stores. Having search options, choosing delivery/ collection methods and seeing what our friends bought in that storeare all what people are used to online and having such featuresavailable in bricks and mortar stores is what will bring people outof their homes and back down the High Street.After all, online shopping is lonely. Go into your local High Streetand you rarely see people shopping alone – most people shop withother people. It is a social activity. The High Street has been on itslast legs not so much because of the Internet, but because shopshave let the coffee houses have all the social activity. Our localDebenhams closed its coffee shop, but why? To make more roomfor men’s shirts. That area of the store is now largely devoid of people – fewer people because they cannot really socialise arounda display of 16 inch collars. With the coffee shop in place, theyhad a reason to be in the store.Retail is a leisure activity for the most part and the best retailersknow this and make their stores fun and exciting with socialfeatures. All they need to do is add in some new technology socialfeatures, with augmented reality for instance, and they will getpeopleback to the High Street.The High Street has considerable potential – it will only die if thepeople running retail fail to respond and do what is possible. HMVand Jessops were early warning signals – let’s hope the rest of the High Street has taken note. If they respond, we’ll enjoy the
dual success of online and offline retail. The signs are they arebeginning to respond. But is it too little, too late?
We are at a social media tippingpoint online
Facebook is in trouble. True, it is not in massive danger of collapse,but the signals are all there that it needs todo something to rectifya growing aura of negativity. At the end of last week it emergedthat it wasdelayingthe European launch of its much-hyped newmobile system, Facebook Home. This is supposedly its mobilesaviour; Facebook has not done well in mobile terms, even thoughover 60% of all Facebook activity is conducted on mobile devices.The company has not integrated advertising well into that and hasprobably lost out asa result. Facebook Homewas going to “solve”that situation – yet it seems it hasn’t.Meanwhile, the company looks set to annoy many people with thelaunch of auto-playing videoadverts. Soon, every time you login to Facebook a video at the top of the page will start playing –admittedly with the sound off, but itwill be a distraction. Besidesit is not what people joined Facebook for – they joined to chat totheir friends, not watch TV adverts.Indeed, thefrustration with Facebook is growing. Teenagers aremoving away from Facebook to Twitter, annoyed it seems bythe increasingly inane things that are being discussed as well asthe difficulties in managing personal reputation. They also dislikewhat they call the increasing “drama” of using the site – perhapsbecause of the ever growing list of changes from Facebook itself.But it is not just Facebook that is suffering in the social mediaworld. According tonew researchsharing of “daily deals” isplummeting and the use of location based services is down by 45%.There are almost endless ways of being social online and thereseems to be hardly a day that goes by without some new socialmedia network or service being launched.However, the frustrations with social networks and thepointlessness of much social “stuff” is sinking in. Is there any realpoint any more of simply saying you “like” or “Digg” somethingonline? It was all fun while it lasted, but the statistics are beginningto show we are increasingly growing tired of the plethora of socialmedia.Or are we?What appears to be happening is that we are consolidating. Peopleare beginning to understand the benefits of social media muchmore than they did a few years ago. We appear to have workedout what works.So, what does work? The data show we love LinkedIn, we don’ttire of Twitter and we are gagging for Google+. Why? Becausethey focus on what really matters to people socially – being ableto share what we know and like without being hindered by somemarketing twaddle. We might be back here in a couple of yearssaying “do you remember Facebook?”
Does the web favour the mostintelligent people?
Intelligence is a much-debated issue in the world of psychology.Intelligence tests tell us only a little – people with low “intelligencequotients” can be highly successful and people with high IQcan under-perform in daily activities. You probably know “veryclever” people who cannot do the simple things of life very well.Equally, you’ll know people who failed all their exams at schoolbut are earning millions. IQ is a predictor of success, but a weak one.Some researchers favour the concept of “multiple intelligences”where you can measure, for instance, your “musical intelligence”and compare it with your “mathematical intelligence”. There isalso the whole concept of “emotional intelligence”, which istheoretically about how well you perceive people around you.Undeniably, though, there are some people who just “get” somethings more quickly than others. You will remember people inyour class at school who were just brilliant at maths, but uselessat languages. There were also those swots who you disliked whowere just brilliant at everything. Clearly, some brains are betterthan others at understanding things.According tonew research, this may be a crucial factor in who ismost able to use the web well. The researchers at the Universityof Rochester, New York, discovered that people who are moreintelligent are able to spot small moving items much more easilythan large moving items. Essentially, this means that the moreintelligent you are, the more capable you are at filtering outdistractions and focusing on the task in hand.The web, of course, is full of distractions. Everywhere you look there are things which are designed to take your eye off the ball andattract you to something apparently more interesting. The peoplewho can avoid such distractions are therefore going to be able touse the web in better ways – reading more, gaining more insights,learning more and so on. But to do that, you need to be moreintelligent in order to avoid the distractions.It may well be that the very nature of the distracting web is servingto make the most intelligent even more intelligent. We could becreating another “digital divide” which we had not anticipated.That’sall very well as a debating point, but what does it practicallymean f or you and your website? It means that you will be able toreach the widest group of people if you reduce the distractions on
your pages to an absolute minimum. Focus people on engagingwith your content if you wish to ensure that you do not only work for the intelligentsia.
Woolwich videos go viral – butwhy?
Source:http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/grahamjones/~3/Do8omVqPEK8/ woolwich-videos-go-viral-but-why.html
The horrendous attack of a soldier in Woolwich was undeniablybarbaric. We can only imagine what his poor family must be goingthrough; sudden death is always difficult to cope with, but evenmore so in such a terrible public way. Also, we must wonderabout the parents of the young man photographed with blood onhis hands, almost celebrating the fact that the soldier was killed. Iwonder how his mother feels today. Yesterday she was probablythinking that her son was just out on a shopping trip; the next thingshe sees is a video of him admitting to having hacked a defencelessman to death.Events like this affect many people; the witnesses are unlikelyto ever forget what they saw. Some may well suffer from posttraumatic stress disorder. One man was killed in an horrific way,but dozens of others will suffer psychologically for many years tocome. There are many other victims.The online world may also contribute to the victim count.Hundreds of thousands of people have already watched the graphicvideos online that the TV channels have clearly decided not torebroadcast. But with the vast increase in “citizen journalism” andthe spread of user generated content, the public at large can nolonger be protected from the horrors of the world.Yet what is interesting to consider is the spread of such horriblevideos and images. If the material is so dreadful, why do peopleshare it?Researchers at theUniversity of Alabamahave discovered why.It is a phenomenon known as “emotional contagion”. Essentially,we want to share things – negative or positive – that have affectedus deeply. It is the same reason why people share funny videos ortitillating ones for that matter. Online content goes viral becauseit affects us.So, even though we may be horrified by the events we should notbe tooconcernedabout the sharing of those dreadful videos of thebutchery that took place in South Easy London yesterday. Indeed,the very fact that they are being shared is testament to the fact thatwe are deeply affected by them. It demonstrates the true horror weall feel about what happened.
Apple, Google, Starbucks – whatwe “feel” matters most
Tim Cook, the CEO of Apple, says the company pays all the tax itowes and follows the “spirit” of the law. That “spirit” has allowedthe company to earn $74bn through anIrish subsidiaryand onlypay a tax rate of 0.05% on it. Apple is not alone, of course. Inspite of earning billions, Starbucks has only paid an average of £533,333 in tax in the UK for the past 15 years. The row became sointense the company evenvolunteeredto stump up some extra cashfor the Government kitty. Meanwhile, the Google chairman, EricSchmidt, has had to speak out anddefend the companyfollowingthe grilling it received in the House of Commons recently.Wherever you look, big international brands are under fire frompoliticians. Of course, that’s understandable; the politicians havebeen partially responsible for the world’s economic turmoil andthey need cash to patch up the holes they created. Anyone withloads of cash – and Apple has a spare $100bn slopping about – isfair target for the politicians.But there is another issue – fairness. Does it seem fair that Applepays a rate of 0.05% tax where you pay between 20% and 45% on– I imagine – a lot less income? Does it seem fair that Google inthe UK does not conduct any actual sales transactions here, but the“deal” is firmed up via an email from Ireland? Or does that seemlike “bending the rules”?I am sure a tax lawyer will tell us that the companies are merelyusing the legal framework as set by governments and internationalagreements. Maybe.But the companies need to listen more to psychologists than theirlawyers. Why? Becausenew researchsuggests there could be animpact on the businesses themselves if they carry on with this“we follow the law” rigmarole. The study shows the influence of brand on decision making. The researchers showed that decisionsto purchase are changed when we are faced with preferred brands.It seems we could make a decision to buy something, but as soonas one of our preferred brands comes into the mix our decisionmaking is altered.Importantly, the researchers point out that a key element in this iswhat psychologists call “affect”. That means the emotional moodyou feel. In other words it is not the prices or the quality of theproducts that influences your attraction to brands, but how you feelabout them. In other words, it is your emotional response.So how is your emotional response to Apple who say they followthe spirit of the law, yet pay almost no tax on billions of income?How isyour emotional response to Google who say they “do noevil” yet hardly contribute to the Inland Revenue? The chancesare you are going to feel more negative towards these brands thanbefore. And that is their problem.

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