The Weekly Stripe – 25.09.2020
Can shame be used for good? Take the example of Square, the point of sale software that often includes a tablet for customers to checkout on. From changing the tipping experience from being ‘opt-in’ to ‘opt-out’, Square capitalised on the ‘friction of shame’ to encourage more people to tip when paying the cashier. Mike Raab suggests there are ample opportunities for companies to bend consumer behaviour by introducing or eradicating shame from people’s purchase journeys.
Okash, a popular money lending app in Kenya and Nigeria, threatens to notify everyone on your phone’s contact list if you fail to make timely repayments. Criticism of the app has grown since its launch in 2018, but with low regulation of Fintech activity, are we likely to see social shaming continue as a model for incentivising people to pay up?
Shaming people as outsiders to a society’s norms can create unity among a group and encourage people to adhere to rules – but at the same time it is a counterproductive and negative way of connecting people. Don’t worry, says Douglas Rushkoff, the internet can help us dissolve these feelings and create new bonds of solidarity.
Advancements in use of smart CCTV cameras raises the possibility (and threat) of public shaming. Earlier this year, surveillance tech in the Chinese city of Suzhou captured images of people wearing their pyjamas outside, and published them online – alongside people’s name, photo and ID number. A high price to pay for wearing PJs to the shops.
To mask or not to mask? It’s clear from the social dilemma running through the US currently that shame can run both ways, depending on whether you’re in mask wearing NYC, or mask desert North Dakota. Amit Katwala suggests that to change people’s behaviour, playing into group bonds where there is a strong social influence might be more effective than shaming them.