by Madeline Laughs
I had approached one of the study selections chosen to participate in a research project I’m working on and started talking to him about participating. We pay them an incentive to speak with us and it’s sizable. I always like to mention the incentive and the amount, especially when I’m working a demographic that would appreciate a little extra cash.
I mentioned the incentive to the gentleman and without even looking at me, he replies “Oh I don’t really care about that.”
Usually I blow right past this kind of bullshit response because that what it is, pure bullshit. Don’t tell me you don’t care about getting that kind of cash, when I know you do.
When people make those kind of cavalier remarks, it’s not ever about how they really feel about what you’ve just shared with them. It’s a knee jerk reaction born out of insecurity, unnecessary pride or fear of what they’ll have to do to get what you’re offering.
It can also be a way to belittle your offer and to make you go away. If they can make you think you have nothing they want, then it stands to reason that you’ll leave them alone.
Obviously, this guy had never met me before.
I stopped talking the second he threw up his wall. I waited for him to look at me so I could make eye contact with him. Then I asked “Really?” but I had no intention of letting him respond, so I kept talking “You know, most folks are only interested in the cash!” I smiled and kept talking “I am so happy to know that you’re going to sit down with me and do the study for free. I think that’s awesome! I wish more Americans felt the same way you do about social research.”
He was floored.
These days it seems everyone has an opinion, but they only want to whine about it on Facebook. Do you know what happens to all of that heartfelt pissing and moaning you do on Facebook? A few of your friends see it, they might make a comment, or two, and then five minutes later they completely forget the whole conversation.
Unless you are actively out doing something to change the things in this life that make you unhappy or uncomfortable, then chatting about it on a social network is about as effective as shouting it from a mountaintop and getting an echo. It’s kind of lonely and nothing much happens to fix the problems.
When you hear statistics and percentages of the American population that are buying a certain way, or not, or using a service, or not, the reason you can get that overall picture is because someone like me went out there and visited your home and personally gathered that information.
That’s right people! I’ve been out there in the rain, suffering with seasonal allergies, for the last 5 days trying to record your opinions. I am your chance to be heard by millions of other people just like you. Millions! Not just the hundred or so friends you have on Facebook or Twitter.
If you truly have an opinion and you want to make a difference, then talk to the Social Researcher. Don’t be disrespectful and dismissive. Do the study and then go spend the incentive on a gourmet meal or a nice outfit for yourself.
You deserve it!
You just did a great service to your community!
It shouldn’t ever be about the incentive. It’s about being a community-minded and responsible citizen. The incentive is just our way of saying thank you. Thank you for inviting me in to put my tired feet under your table. Thank you for the bottle of water on a hot day. Thank you for making my job easy.
And thank you for participating.
- How to persuade people who dont know you to help you (socialtriggers.com)
- Incentives & creativity (stumblingandmumbling.typepad.com)
- Money from Music: Survey Evidence on Musicians’ Revenue and Lessons About Copyright Incentives (infojustice.org)