Reverse psychology is a technique involving the advocacy of a belief or behavior that is opposite to the one desired, with the expectation that this approach will encourage the subject of the persuasion to do what actually is desired: the opposite of what is suggested. This technique relies on the psychological phenomenon of reactance, in which a person has a negative emotional reaction to being persuaded, and thus chooses the option which is being advocated against.
Reactance is a motivational reaction to offers, persons, rules, or regulations that threaten or eliminate specific behavioral freedoms. Reactance occurs when a person feels that someone or something is taking away his or her choices or limiting the range of alternatives. Reactances can occur when someone is heavily pressured to accept a certain view or attitude. Reactance can cause the person to adopt or strengthen a view or attitude that is contrary to what was intended, and also increases resistance to persuasion. People using reverse psychology are playing on at least an informal awareness of reactance, attempting to influence someone to choose the opposite of what they request.
Much ado about a hashtag:
At exactly 12:49 PM (West African Time) on the 23rd of April 2014, Ibrahim M. Abdullahi, who tweets via @Abu_Aaid, posted a tweet. This was a normal thing for anyone to do while watching television but little did he know that his usage of #BringBackOurGirls, will spark the biggest ever Social Media outrage/concern of all time.
He tweeted as shown below:
— Ibrahim M. Abdullahi (@Abu_Aaid) April 23, 2014
The hashtag #BringBackOurGirls has so far become a global phenomenon. Little wonder brand strategists would love an opportunity to leverage on its popularity in pushing their own agenda. Our politicians and sycophants were not left out in this struggle.
Only recently, certain elements decided to use this strategy in pushing the 2015 call to campaign for President Goodluck Jonathan. It is pertinent to point out here that this would have been a splendid quest if and only if the Chibok girls had been rescued and reunited with their families. Sadly, a few heads threw empathy to the winds. Fortunately, the President via his media team rose up to the occasion and dissociated themselves from the merry mess, while calling for a ban of such campaign.
What has Atiku got to do with it?
I've seen a few followers tweeting #bringbackAtiku – this is very insensitive and wrong. Please stop this hashtag immediately.
— Atiku Abubakar (@atiku) September 16, 2014
This tweet to an unassuming passerby is as innocent as it looks but analytics has a different perspective on it perceived innocence.
Comparing the earlier hashtags (#BringAtiku2015 and #BringBackAtiku2015) that Atiku Abubakar used as a leverage to launch his own unique hashtag, #BringBackAtiku, the following were observed;
- The combined number of tweets on the former hashtags recorded was 167
- The number of tweets on the unique hashtag launched by Atiku Abubakar was 450
- The tweet used in what I can only attribute to a reverse psychology effect garnered 283 tweets more than the supposed damaging tweets
The Tweet Analytics of each of the hashtags are shown below:
What the Social Media Influencer can learn from Atiku Abubakar:
- Social media users are like babies even though they will hardly agree
- The quest for qwerty freedom is fundamental, do not get it wrong from the start
- We are in a new era. Get folks to do exactly what you want them to do by insisting that they do not do it
- If you have enough funds at your disposal, ensure to engage the best brand strategists as they already know that reverse psychology is the new social media sexy
- Lastly, Twitter will always forget as soon as a hot and sizzling hashtag shows up.
Atiku Abubakar’s political ambition was not harmed in the cause of writing this article. As a matter of fact, I voted for him in an online polling exercise done by “For The Future Nigeria” in which he got 5% of the online polling share. Click here for the results.
— Blossom Nnodim (@blossomnnodim) March 31, 2014
A quick recap of the APC Presidential Polling:
“Reverse psychology.” Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia. Wikipedia Foundation, Inc. 31 August 2014. Web. 17 September 2014. < http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reverse_psychology>
“Reactance (psychology).” Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia. Wikipedia Foundation, Inc. 21 July 2014. Web. 17 September 2014. < http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reactance_(psychology)>
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