Social Media as Eternal Testimony
In the 1970s people believed things. They believed that Richard Nixon was a crook. They believed that the war in Vietnam was essential to preserve democracy around the world. They believed that The Beatles were the best band in history. Some people even believed that Jesus had been reincarnated in Texas. People believed things as they have always believed things. Among most people, those beliefs were private possessions. If pressed, an individual may express a belief; but, as a general rule, your beliefs were yours: “I’m a Christian but I’m not religious.” “I’m conservative but I like folks.” Deeply held beliefs tended to be tossed off as the personal experience that they were.
Cavett Robert, successful lawyer, salesman and motivational speaker, suggested the following as advice to sales trainees, “Since 95% of the people are imitators and only 5% initiators, people are persuaded more by the actions of others than by any proof we can offer.” This expert salesman proposes that people are divided into initiators and imitators. Initiators testify. They raise their voice and argue for a particular belief. Imitators accept and hold the belief the initiator provides. The initiator leads and the imitator follows. Only 5% of humans are initiators; or, at least that was true in the 1970s when this salesman was selling and in 2001 when Robert B. Cialdini sited and provided further evidence for this claim in the fourth edition of his book Influence, Science and Practice.
Belief and Community
Human beings are herd animals but many public figures are not proud of this fact. Rand Paul, and other Objectivists claiming to be Libertarians, repudiate the notion of society. Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher denied the value of community and glorified the isolated and indomitable manly man, pulling himself up by ill-defined self-propelled bootstraps, conquering the undeserving weak and rightly reveling in the latter’s lunch money.
The independent manly man, though, is a myth. Never existed and likely never will. We are social creatures. We tend to act and even to…