"Hum toh akele hi chale the magar, log milte gaye karwa banta gaya!" But wait, nobody knew why everybody was walking or towards where, people kept adding nonetheless because they built their faith on the people who had already joined me walking.
If everyone's going to the party, chances are you'll jump at the opportunity saying, "Count me in". Let's replace the party with a boring event for you. Everybody's going to the museum or art exhibition, you are least interested in. Literally, all of your friends are going. Nobody really forced you into joining them and the art exhibition all of a sudden didn't become fascinating to you but you'll go. It's called the Bandwagon Effect.
"Everybody is doing it, I should too."
It is a psychological effect and a judgment fallacy.
Think of it. Right before lockdown, there were so many cafes and dining places sprouting up. Did you not see a new cafe in many people's Instagram feed and thought, "Hey, everybody's is going to this cafe. Maybe I should check it out"? You suggest the plan to a friend and he hops on "Definitely. That cafe is a happening place in town right now."
If not this then you must have watched a tv series because everybody else was watching it. But if you did not come across many people referring the same series you'd are less likely to watch it. Money Heist (Lacasa De Papel in Spanish) is exemplary. Released in May 2017, on Spanish TV, it almost flopped after the first few episodes. In late 2017, Netflix bought the two seasons at 2 dollars. Yes, 2 dollars. The content has a role to play. But bandwagon Effect can take an average success story and make it a super-success. More and more people watched Money Heist because people were watching and talking about it.
The Bandwagon effect is psychologically highly impactful even in our little choices because:
1. We look toward others for conformation
2. We derive information from others
3. Jumping in Bandwagon places us in a social circle, otherwise, we'd be an outcast for that circle
4. FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out). If everybody is doing it then I'll miss out if I don't do it.
5. We associate quality with popularity. If it's being tried by everybody then it must be good.
On Youtube, often the most senseless content become most popular. Well, that content was not the only senseless piece on YT, then why this content and not any other?
The Bandwagon effect for social media depends highly on the chain of sharing. As long as the chain keeps building instead of breaking, the content will keep getting viral. If a content chain is more likely to break than build, it won't go viral.
Marketing uses this effect as a strategy to increase sales. You couldn't have missed those "Bestselling" & "India's number 1" titles that almost every product seems to have here. Some bandwagon effect also comes down to status symbol. A classic example is the iPhone, the bandwagon of higher status in India and abroad.
Fashion trends come and go. But why do they come at all? Once there are enough people following a trend, the others hop on. "It's so in".
There we talked about light matters, but Bandwagon Effect actually originates from a political campaign. In 1848, a very popular clown, Dan Rice, conducted a political campaign. He would go places to places asking people to hop on his bandwagon and vote for a particular party. It became a political trend ever since then, and William Jenning Bryan followed through the trend while contesting the Presidential election of America, in 1900.
Knowing what other people are doing or choosing has an impact on our choices. Even in politics, this effect was seen in America, earlier voting happened in phases and the results of the first voting States were released even before the other States had cast vote. It was noticed that whichever party secured more votes in prior States were likely to vote in by the residual States because they were impacted by the disclosed results.
People choose to go with the wave (even if it's illogical). Do not believe me? Watch this video.
Failing collectively is always a safer option than failing alone. Isn't it?
What comes to your mind from Bandwagon Effect?
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