Hiding ideas and the “Streisand effect”

Making stuff secret, makes it fun...

Making stuff secret, makes it fun…

When I started learning political science and getting into geo-politics several years ago, I kept seeing the concept of censorship coming up.

The included the mainstream / legacy media hiding information by not reporting on stories and online social media giants making questionable decisions on removing some content (whilst leaving up other content that already violates their TOS).

It really gave me a glimpse into how the human mind works in terms of how hiding something makes it popular. Whenever someone was trying to hide a story or idea; it would always have the opposite impact.

People would make videos on it, share it more online and it would generate more of a passionate response out of people. It had the exact impact on me in that whenever I felt the establishment was hiding something or parts of the government where working against the people; I would hit Twitter with passion retweeting and sharing all these incredible ideas.

It turns out I wasn’t the only one and I firstly got exposed to the “Streisand effect”. Wikipedia does an incredible write up on this and you get lots of great videos on YouTube explaining it.

When you supress an idea, it makes it interesting, forbidden, exciting and it turns something probably boring that no one cares about into a potential headline.

This came from an image of Barbara Streisand’s Malibu house which she attempted to suppress being in the public. A photographer took a photo of her mansion as part of another project (studying Coastal Erosion) and Barbara wasn’t happy and wanted it taken down.

She tried to sue (and failed), which turned something that no one cared about into Global Headlines at the time. It was such a backfiring of trying to hide something, the impact was named after her (FYI: I love her music and a massive fan of her).

I find this fascinating in how people tend to work. When you push someone, hide something or try and be over authoritative it usually creates some form of the resistance. With the internet, it just adds fuel to the fire.

My advice and thinking? Whatever you do, don’t try to hide ideas. You will make them popular. Also, if an idea is being hidden by the establishment, it may pay for you to retweet it. People only tend to hide ideas when it’s close to the bone.

I love your work, thank you for the read, I still love Barbara Streisand I think I will do some research to figure out why this threw her out so much (hence the impact is working on me!).