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Wednesday, September 14, 2016

One click away from being famous

Every now and then, we get a wannabe star video on our feed, a person dreaming big, with little assets, a cheap video with sexual allegations gone wrong. 
We are triggered, we immediately share our disgust, or our amusement, we tag someone, sometimes write aggressive comments, and after some hundreds and thousands of clicks, without it being our intention, we make a buzz, and make this person a sensation, even in the negative way.

    It never fails. We always fall for the trap. Then,we are puzzled to see them famous, sometimes infamous. 

Our indignation grows, and with it our frustration. 
They take the moment of fame, do more videos, upload replies. 
We share again, becoming more aggressive. 
Their pages get hundreds and thousands of likes. 
Some users get compassionate over the growing hate, and become real likers and followers. 
Give it some time, these same wannabe soon become famous. 
We get bored with them, used to their attitude, and move to a newcomer.
And there is the pattern we inadvertently draw over and over again.


    To answer that question we have to understand why we click in the first place, why do we love social media so much, why do we share so much. What is the psychology behind our glued eyes on those screens.

    Luckily, some studies emerged especially aiming at understanding users to better make profit.

    The New York Times Customer Insight Group conducted a fascinating study, that discovered five key reasons behind our sharing with others:
1-To bring valuable and entertaining contents to others.
2-To define ourselves to others.
3-To grow and nourish our relationships.
4-For self fulfillment.
5-To get the word out about causes, brands...

    If we look closer to those reasons,  we always find a need for connection with others. Because we are social creatures, and by being social, we need to share our emotions: our joy, our fear, our anger, our sadness, our disgust... We feel the urge to share information because whether we admit it or not, we seek connection in all we do.

Sharing is just a natural human behavior, and it is emotional.
Social media answers our emotional needs.

    So our first drive is the need to share and connect. And now it is just a click away. Made easy and quick.

    But on our way to answer a beautiful need (connection and sharing), on our way to be the first to tell our friends about this wannabe, or this new brand, or this info, or this adorable cat, or this weird fact...we rarely check with ourselves before hitting that button.

    As a matter of fact, even in our real life, we rarely check with ourselves before doing many things. We are in such a rush that even mentioning the word "Check" sounds awkward. 
We have been raised not to check with our underlying needs, or underlying needs of others while communicating.

    What I mean by "checking" is, asking simple questions: why do I want to share this content? What is the need I want to fulfill? What is my intent? What effect will it have on others? Am i sure it is true?

Intent is crucial, because we always have an intent. And our intent always has an effect.

    My answer could be: for fun (need: fun), to get attention (need: attention), to inform (need: information, sharing, knowledge), because it is beautiful or uplifting (need: sharing beauty, inspiration), because I am angry (need: empathy, connection, understanding, compassion)...

The same questions could be asked regarding the post I am reading:
Why did they share this content?
What is the need they want to fulfill?
What is their intent?
What is the effect on me? (Am I triggered? angry? frustrated? happy? seeing this?)
Then comes this very important decision:
Do I want to answer their needs? does answering their needs makes me happy? (yes, happy!).

By reading these questions in details here, they sound too much to do before clicking "share" or "retweet". But in fact they take less than a minute if we make them a habit. 

    Let's put that into practice with our wannabe famous individuals with their triggering videos, or Tweets, or Statuses:

"When I see/read this post, I feel angry/triggered/amused... I need connection, harmony, love, understanding...
I wonder what is their need to share something similar. Are they seeking attention? are they seeking stardom? Are they looking for clicks? Do I want to give them that? Do I want to play the role they want me to? Does that make me happy?" (takes less than 30 seconds).

When we get our satisfying answer, we will totally own our effect on our readers and followers, and take responsibility for our action. Be it by sharing, or not.
Because we do have the choice of taking part of the pattern, or not, if we just take a deep breath and those few precious seconds and CHECK our emotions and needs.

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