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The Amazing Defensive Power Of A Single Click

June 27, 2018

I used to work for a large non-profit org in Utah. I was the email manager. We put in a brand new email system. I started sending out status updates on the new email system. Originally it was once per day, but eventually settled down to once per week.

My emails were the stuff of legend. They eventually morphed into full on team reports. I not only showed status of the system, but highlighted my team members, upcoming announcements. It was about 10 pages per week. Two interesting things happened.

First, my fellow team managers had a little bit of an issue with me. After all, they were expected to report on their teams each week as well. Their “report” was typically a single paragraph typed up in a few minutes. They felt like they suffered by comparison.

But, more interestingly, someone asked,

Why don’t you put all of that on a SharePoint site and just send the link every week?

Because people would stop reading it.

What do you mean?

If you had to click to see the data would you click that link?

No, I guess not.

We are a lazy species in some ways. Clicking through to a link takes a lot of work. And yet, here you are. You clicked through to this link. (Unless you are one of the hundreds that gets it emailed to you.)

Why? What inticed you to click through?

I can tell you what I tried. The title and the first paragraph are the most important. That’s the “hook.” I try to make the story sound interesting enough that it’s going to leap out at you from your normal newsfeed.

Entire books have been written on the power of that click, why people don’t click it and why they do. People much smarter than me could delve into the psychology of it. I just know that I have to start strong.

That click can be a defensive mechanism as well. I’ve written almost 1500 posts since I started this blog 5 years ago. And not once have I mentioned the following:

– The name of my current employer
– The name of the large non-profit I worked for
– The name of any of my kids or my lovely wife

Obviously, I’ve talked about all three of these things, but I’ve deliberately not called them out.

I used to not put a password on my wifi router. I hid the SSID, but didn’t bother with a password. I worked with some very bright engineers.

You just hide the name? Do you realize how easy it would be for me to find the name and hack your wifi?

Do you know how long it would take a professional thief to break into your car?

What?

Less than 30 seconds. A professional thief could break in and steal your car in less than 30 seconds, even if you lock the doors. So, why lock them at all?

I don’t know.

Because you are not protecting yourself from the professional thief. If he wants your car he’ll take it. You are protecting yourself from the kid walking through the parking lot checking car doors. Same with my wifi.

I now put a password on my wifi, but I don’t consider it that much more secure than it was when I had no password.

I’m counting on the laziness factor. Referring again to the list above, it would be pretty easy to find out the information I’m “hiding.” I have my LinkedIn! information in my signature at the end of every post. It lists my job history.

My facebook profile is somewhat locked down, but you could certainly figure out my lovely wife’s name. Getting my kids’ info would be slightly harder, but not impossible. Most of them have social media accounts and you could find them through my profiles.

So, why bother hiding the names if people could just go find the information anyway? Because people are lazy. Because even now, you’re thinking, “I might just go see what companies Rodney worked for. . .” But, you won’t do it.

Obviously, this blow has my own opinions and it probably goes without saying that they are not necessarily the views of my employer. But, I want to make sure I keep a wide gap between here and there.

This site gets indexed by google. If I never mention my company’s name it will never get associated with this blog in google.

In the Old Testament, the Israelites were attacked by “fiery flying serpents.” Basically, a bunch of poisonous snakes. The prophet Moses raised up a brass serpent on a staff and anyone who got bit could look at the staff and they would live. People who refused to look would die.

It was a simple thing. And a lot of people died.

That extra click is a powerful deterrent.

Rodney M Bliss is an author, columnist and IT Consultant. His blog updates every weekday. He lives in Pleasant Grove, UT with his lovely wife, thirteen children and grandchildren.

Follow him on
Twitter (@rodneymbliss)
Facebook (www.facebook.com/rbliss)
LinkedIn (www.LinkedIn.com/in/rbliss)
or email him at rbliss at msn dot com

(c) 2018 Rodney M Bliss, all rights reserved

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