Blogging and the Ikea Effect

Hey, if you like this post please go to the bottom and click like, share it on your favorite social media platform, and maybe leave a comment! Now let’s talk about blogging and the IKEA effect!

This is an idea that has been bouncing around in my head for a while, and I’m still not sure what to do with it. There’s a principal called the IKEA Effect, which proves that people value things they’ve had a hand in creating more than a thing that comes ready-made. People might complain about assembling IKEA furniture, but studies have shown that we’re willing to pay more for a flat pack than an object that’s already been put together.

While there’s sufficient data to prove that its true, we can only speculate as to why. Am I more invested, emotionally, in the table I’m sitting at because I put it together? For me, personally, that’s a no, but I can’t presume to speak for everyone. It makes more sense to me when you expand the IKEA Effect to other things, like cooking. It’s the difference between microwaving a frozen burrito, and opening a can of refried beans, a bag of shredded cheese, and a package of tortillas, assembling a burrito, and then microwaving it. You feel like you’ve participated. There’s some sense of accomplishment, beyond just purchasing a product.

(I’m not going to take a snobbish sidebar here to express my opinion that neither of those things is cooking, any more than putting together an IKEA bookshelf qualifies as an act of carpentry.)

Blogging and the Ikea Effect

Anyway, in considering the differences between social media and blogging, and looking for non-harmful, non-exploitive, non-scumbag things that social media does that blogging possibly could, I started thinking about the IKEA Effect. My initial thought was that a blog post is already complete, where a social post somehow… isn’t? That there’s a sense of completion, in terms of participation, in clicking like, or share, or leaving a comment. The reader feels invested because they can leave their mark on the post.

Except that the only difference between a concise 280 character Tweet and a 600 word blog post is length. There is a like button at the bottom of this post, the same as on social media platforms. There are icons to click and share the post in various ways. You can leave comments. Is it because those features are buried so far down the page, they get missed? Maybe it’s because the opportunity to do those things doesn’t present itself within 7 or 8 seconds, as they do when scrolling through social posts?

You may have noticed that I put an invitation to like, share, and comment at the top of this post. That’s my little experiment. I might do it randomly over the next couple of weeks, to see if there’s any difference in engagement. Yes, it does feel a little manipulative to me, it’s more about looking for results than getting you to do something. I’m curious.

5 comments / Add your comment below

  1. Just to report my practice here: I had subscribed to the e-mail for a month or so. I unsubbed from that a couple weeks ago because I want to read a blog at a blog’s site, not in my e-mail. Reading in e-mail doesn’t make me feel like I’m part of anything, even the audience.

    I comment occasionally, though the last comment I made seems to have gone away/never been. I read, and dig through back posts, ’cause I really like what Berin is doing with the “magna carta + bullet journal” self-management thing, and that’s something I’m trying to put into place even now.

    I don’t have a blog of my own to share things from. I have a webpage, mostly an archive of things I’ve written that people told me they liked. My social media amounts to a quiet dark corner of MeWe and a Facebook account I use as little as possible.

    My counter-question would be, what do you really want from this blog? Just an outlet for a passive audience; an engaged audience; or a community? The last seems the most rewarding, but it’s also the most risky, and given your past experiences maybe unappealing.

  2. I comment if I feel I have something to say, the same goes for Twitter (the only bit of social media I use), not really in favour of ‘like’ buttons unless there’s also a ‘dislike’ which in the bubble environment of social media users’ fragile egos isn’t going to happen. Either a comments box of a ‘like’ button needs to be at the end, because unless I’ve read the entire post how can I comment on it (or even ‘like’ it, were I given to pressing button)?

  3. There will be more bullet journal/magna carta type posts coming up soon. Among other things,I want to do a monthly feature where I cover what worked for me last month, and how I’m doing things a little differently in the coming month.

    As for what I want from the blog, I’d really like to have a community again. I’ve had to do a lot of self-work first before I could even get to the point of considering what that might look like. I’m still not sure what that looks like in the age of toxic social media, but I’m going to keep working on it.

  4. Yeah, these things belong at the end because comments ought to be the end result of thoughtful consideration. That’s not what social media has trained people to do. Even looking at some of the blogs I follow, you can tell that some commenters read the headline and maybe the first paragraph, then scrolled to the bottom to have their say.

  5. I had never heard of the ‘Ikea effect’ labelled as such. This was recognized before Ikea that participation gives a stronger sense of meaningfulness and ownership – the primary reason that Role-playing became popular. I think part of the problem is that business and media have encourage an emotional knee-jerk behavior that is easier to manipulate rather than a thoughtful reasoned response. 30 to 40 years ago online hysterics were very rare.

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