We feel obliged to give when we receive
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Make users feel they have been done a favor by the system or other users in order to make them feel obliged to return it. The favor can be annything from receiving a physical gift to a hug – or even a “like” on facebook. The receiver of the gesture or favor then has the social obligation to respond, following the norm of reciprocity.
Reciprocity can also play out in a negative way: revenge. Even though revenge is a negative behavior, it has been utilized in a number of online games, where you try to “get each other”. On Foursquare, you can take over the mayorships of other people, which in turn feel obliqued to return the negative favor.
Provoke users to retaliate based on their social obligation to respond.
If we feel we have been done a favor, we will want to return it. When we receive a gift, we are more likely to comply with the demand that follows: we say yes to those we owe.
Reciprocation is part of the norms that form our social behavior. We are raised that returning a favor is the right thing to do and that we should feel bad if we do not return a favor. Our bad conscience will at some point gather up unreturned favors into some sort or action from users.