Facebook Likes and Social Proof
Social proof, also known as informational social influence, is a psychological phenomenon where people assume the actions of others in an attempt to reflect correct behavior for a given situation. This effect is prominent in ambiguous social situations where people are unable to determine the appropriate mode of behavior, and is driven by the assumption that surrounding people possess more knowledge about the situation.
Ok, enough gooble-de-gook. What does that mean in common sense language? It means that we rely on others to decide what the appropriate actions or behaviour we should do in a certain social situation.
Example time: You are walking down the street with friends looking for somewhere to eat. There are two restaurants. One is packed full of people, the atmosphere is bustling and restaurant is busy. Across the street, you have the other restaurant, it’s empty apart from one or two staff members and you could hear a pin drop. Which restaurant do you choose? The first one. That is social proof. You relied on what others before you decided to guide your actions.
Here’s some great articles about social proof that you can read more on.
Wikipedia on Social Proof: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_proof
Daily Mercury Article: http://www.dailymercury.com.au/news/what-is-social-proof-and-do-i-need-it/1879346/
Media Studies Canada: http://www.media-studies.ca/articles/influence_ch4.htm