At a conference this past week, dozens of mobile personal hotspots were interfering with the event’s wifi connection.
The organisers repeatedly asked attendees to close their mobile internet connections. By the end of the third day, they had just about reached enough people for most people to get wifi.
When you highlight the number of people doing something bad, you’re giving the perpetrators safety in numbers. You’re creating a sense of majority among them – perhaps even a connection among them. You’re also telling everyone they too can do something bad without much personal consequence.
Far better to focus on the people doing something good. Don’t focus on the 1% of people doing something bad, focus on the 99% of people doing something good. I’d highlight the rising number of people who aren’t using personal hotspots. Create the sense that momentum is on the side of the good, not the bad. Get people onboard in celebrating the number gradually reaching 100% – give the minority fewer places to hide – and let them easily jump to the winning side.
I wonder how different the conversation about trolling would be if we focused on the 99.99% of people who don’t troll. Who are civil, pleasant, and supportive of one another. I wonder what would happen if we focused on growing the positives number instead of reducing the negative.