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WordPress and the 5th weapon of influence June 18, 2006

Posted by Timothy Li in Books, influence, Personal MBA, WordPress.

The book “Influence” by Dr. Robert B. Cialdini presents a detailed discussion of seven weapons of influence. Guy Kawasaki reviewed the book here, it is also listed in the Personal MBA program. 

Weapons of influence might sound intimidating to you at first, but they are used everywhere by its masters to gain compliance from their target audience.  In simpler terms, you may use these “weapons”, or methods to persuade someone into agreeing to your request, be it for a date, a customer, or even your own boss. 

After studying the book, I began to notice the employment of these weapons of influence everywhere, and how they influence my decisions through many different channels.  Even when I blog I cannot escape their power.  Let’s take the popular blog Scobleizer for an example. 

I have been quite intrigued about the fact that Scobleizer is hosted on WordPress.  Not only is Scobleier based on WP software, it is actually hosted right from wordpress.com.  Of course Robert has enough expertise and money to maintain his own blog server, then why doesn’t he? isn’t it a little odd that such an authoritative blog is hosted by a free blogging service?

Robert explained a while ago that his decision to switch to Wordpress is due to a bet he has with the WordPress founder, but how exactly does WordPress benefit from hosting Scobleizer?

The the 5th weapon of influence is Authority, Dr. Cialdini explains in the book that we are very likely to seek an authority’s opinion when we are given a number of equivalent options, or when we lack expertise in a certain subject.  In this case, when a new blogger tries to decide between WordPress and Blogger, she sees Scobleizer on WordPress and immediately register the fact that an authoritative blogger has chosen WordPress, having two seemingly equal options and the lack of insights to differentiate the two, she follows.  

Dr. Cialdini then goes on to conlcude that Authority is in fact one of the positive weapons of influence, in the sense that it’s much safer for consumers to be influenced by Authority than by some of the other 6 methods. 

I never really had an answer for why I picked WordPress in the first place, now I know =)

It’s a good book, read it. 

well, if how you can defend yourself from being manipulated by others is the last thing you want to learn about, you don’t really have to read it. =)



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