Deleting Information Often Draws More Attention to It
Trial lawyers face a dilemma any time they object to evidence or testimony in a trial.
On the one hand, advocates don’t want misinformation or hearsay to unduly influence a jury. On the other hand, objecting to the evidence draws attention to it. In the eyes of jurors, any information that is important enough to squabble over is worth a closer look.
Away from the courtroom, the same quandary confronts leaders who ask others to remove or delete messages, take down photos or artwork from public spaces, or expunge undesirable stories or information from the internet. Doing so may be the best call, but the risk is high that the action will draw even more attention to the information.
Consider the event from several years ago, now known as the Streisand Effect.
Singer Barbra Streisand was incensed when a celebrity website posted a photo of her home on their story page. To prevent others from seeing where she resided, Streisand sued the site for invading her privacy and posting the photo without her permission.
Before the suit was filed, only six people had downloaded and viewed the photo file. After the complaint became public, more than half-a-million people visited the site. Streisand lost the suit, but not before she ensured that thousands of people got a look at what she didn’t want them to see.
Attempts to censor or remove information often produces the opposite outcome. Efforts to censor information will usually draw more attention to it, make it more widely known, and increase the appetite to learn more about it.
Resisting the urge to squash information is sometimes the smart play. Erasing the past can be risky. There are times when leaders have little choice but to remove destructive messages. But when the decision is less clearcut, the risk of drawing attention to the effort should always be taken into consideration.
Gaining attention is generally a good thing — until it’s not.
We will be speaking with Chris Kollenda Tuesday (tomorrow) at 11 AM ET as he is now more than half way thru his Fallen Hero Honor Ride. He gives a quick preview here of what he will be discussing with us during our 3rd Annual, Online Community Conference.
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You can reserve your seat in Tuesday’s virtual conference here: https://admiredleadership.com/conference/