We want what we can’t have!

In 2003, Pictopia.com captured and uploaded 12,000 photographs mapping erosion on the California shoreline. Of these 12,000 photographs, one of them happened to include Barbra Streisand’s(American singer & actress) house. She termed this as an invasion of her privacy, sued the photographer for 50 million dollars unsuccessfully, and demanded that the photos be taken down.

Word spread like wildfire people started copying the photo and reposting. It was viewed by millions around the globe and here we are again today viewing this photograph. Eventually, she lost the lawsuit also.

This effect is called the Barbra Streisand effect or Psychological Reactance and is intriguing & fascinating.

We want what we can’t have!

If something is forbidden it’s more attractive as we hate feeling restricted. We hate having our freedom taken away from us. If you tell someone they can’t have or do something they’re going to want it that much more.

In 2014, taxi drivers in London decided to protest the app as it was beginning to gain traction in Europe and threatened their livelihoods. What came of this protest was the exact opposite of what they wanted. Uber apparently saw an increase of 859% app downloads that week, and more sign-ups than it had ever had to date.

If we can position our products scarce & hard to come by, running out fast you’ll make them much more attractive.

On the contrary, for companies, a lot of supposedly “dangerous” information wouldn’t likely draw much attention if left uncensored, but the very act of trying to repress it creates public outrage. Certainly don’t try to cover negativity up or hide an issue that’s brought up. The best way to avoid the Streisand Effect is to stay on top of your online reputation.

--

--

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store