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Fake power-protecting technique: pretend to protect, but power-take instead

A while back, I released a short overview of the concept of "power over-protecting". It's not an official TPM concept right now, so it was mostly my thoughts on a variation of power-protecting (a more deferential/low-power kind).

Here are more of my thoughts, this time on a more dominant (and sneaky) kind of power-protecting.

E.g.

YouTuber: "If you're new here, go ahead and like and subscribe."

Or

YouTuber: "If you haven't already, go ahead and hit that like button."

In the examples above, the receiver's personal decision-making power is ignored because it's not up to them, it's up to their external circumstances.

So, the "if you" gives the illusion that they have a choice, but when one takes a step back and takes another look at the request, they may realize that their power is being taken away from them:

  • "If you enjoyed this video (= you have the power to decide whether or not you enjoyed the video and can follow your own lead), leave a like!"
  • "If you're new here (= your circumstances decide for you and you're left to follow the lead of those circumstances), leave a like on this video."

This is listed as a technique because power-taking can inflate the power-taker's status.

Therefore, this move could be used as a technique for status-inflating where one fields a request to a group, and the receivers follow the power-taker's lead as the power-taker's status increases because his "request" was actually more of an order. (The same dynamic would apply in a one-to-one interaction as well.)

*Note: This is purposely left out of the "techniques" section of the forum because it's unofficial and open to any feedback.

Lucio Buffalmano and Matthew Whitewood have reacted to this post.
Lucio BuffalmanoMatthew Whitewood

Hey Ali,

You're onto something, good analysis in the first part.

The "if you" is not indeed a "full" power-protection.

And the dynamics are indeed somewhat manipulative, since it sounds more power protecting than it really is.

It still does provide some power protection to the receiver though.
The "if you" is still better than a direct form of tasking:

So:

If you want to work together, sign the dotted line

Is a lot better than:

Sign the dotted lined

The latter is a big red flag that would tell me "don't work with this guy".
The former is accetapble.

Hence I'm not sure if the "fake" is the perfect description, or if we're instead talking about a continuum of power-protection, and this form happens to be very low in the scale.

Still, part of me likes it.
Let it sit for a second, or let's see what comes out of it with some more feedback / examples.

Matthew Whitewood has reacted to this post.
Matthew Whitewood
Have you read the forum guidelines for effective communication already?

Yea, I agree with you, Lucio.

Here's another example of what I mean:

[You are provided with a contract that makes it obvious you are to put your signature on each line that calls for it.]

You: (signs all of the respective lines and is getting ready to sign the last one)

Power-Taker: "(looking for a quick status boost) And, if you haven't already, (points to the line you were already about to sign) sign that last line."

The "if you" does make the request more indirect and help the receiver save some power.

The problem is, this isn't really a request, it's more of an order because he's not really "asking" you to do anything, he's telling you with the cover of this "partial power-protecting".

The "if you haven't already" refuses your power to decide whether or not you want to sign that final line because it's not up to you, it's up to your circumstances. Due to the power-taker's phrasing, your choice isn't dependent on you, it's dependent on whether or not you've already signed the line they're referring to.

Similar to the covert power moves we've seen, saying something that ignores your personal decision-making power feels the same as saying:

  • "If you haven't already (regardless of your personal feelings on this), sign that last line."
  • "If you're new here (regardless of your personal power to say "yes" or "no"), hit the like button and subscribe."
Matthew Whitewood has reacted to this post.
Matthew Whitewood

The thing that comes to my mind is the WIIFT or lack of WIIFT.

Lack of WIIFT

YouTuber: "If you're new here, go ahead and like and subscribe."

I will think something like

You want me to like your video just because I stumbled upon your video?

There's some sense of entitlement in the statement.

WIIFT in the Form of Enjoyment or Value

YouTuber: "If you enjoyed this video, go ahead and like and subscribe."

This focuses more on the value that the video brought to the viewer.

I suppose it overlaps with the amount of personal agency you let your viewer have.
By conditioning your statement with a WIIFT, you give the viewer more power to choose whether to like or subscribe.

So I do see the "If you're new here" as much less power-protecting in that sense.
It doesn't depend on the value that the viewer ascribes to the video.

I also see what you mean by sneaky.
Some people who don't think so much may end up clicking the like button.
Especially if the YouTuber was quite charismatic in the video.
So this technique of "If you're new here" may work for viral videos.


Edit: Posted this before seeing Ali's last post.

Ali Scarlett has reacted to this post.
Ali Scarlett
Quote from Matthew Whitewood on July 5, 2021, 1:23 pm

Edit: Posted this before seeing Ali's last post.

It happens :).

Quote from Matthew Whitewood on July 5, 2021, 1:23 pm

The thing that comes to my mind is the WIIFT or lack of WIIFT.

Lack of WIIFT

YouTuber: "If you're new here, go ahead and like and subscribe."

I will think something like

You want me to like your video just because I stumbled upon your video?

There's some sense of entitlement in the statement.

WIIFT in the Form of Enjoyment or Value

YouTuber: "If you enjoyed this video, go ahead and like and subscribe."

This focuses more on the value that the video brought to the viewer.

I suppose it overlaps with the amount of personal agency you let your viewer have.
By conditioning your statement with a WIIFT, you give the viewer more power to choose whether to like or subscribe.

So I do see the "If you're new here" as much less power-protecting in that sense.
It doesn't depend on the value that the viewer ascribes to the video.

I also see what you mean by sneaky.
Some people who don't think so much may end up clicking the like button.
Especially if the YouTuber was quite charismatic in the video.
So this technique of "If you're new here" may work for viral videos.

Agreed, Matthew, I hadn't thought of it that way.

That sounds more like poor social strategy, and that could also be a form of social exchange manipulation under certain circumstances.

Based on your post/breakdown, it sounds like this technique can be used as more than power-taking, but also as a form of social scalping (getting value without having to underline the value delivered or give any future value).

Matthew Whitewood has reacted to this post.
Matthew Whitewood

Convinced, and added it to the dictionary.

I think it can make sense to have it as an expression.

Thanks Ali!

Ali Scarlett has reacted to this post.
Ali Scarlett
Have you read the forum guidelines for effective communication already?
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