I find the way we think about how well social media changes our mind set quite interesting. Mostly because I am of the opinion that humans are fundamentally lazy and, following this theory, the action of clicking a “Like” button of a social cause does not mean we will get off our couch to actively do anything about it, we seem to think it shows enough support. Enough compared to what, I am not sure, but enough that we do not have to go and do anymore. We intrinsically know clicking a “Like” button on a facebook page for stopping hunger in the third world will not necessarily give them more food, but we feel we have done our part.
However, following this concept of “social proof” by clicking on that button, I am potentially shaping the actions of those people who receive the notification that I have done so. There is some anecdotal evidence to show that my actions on social media will be reflected in the actions of those around me. While this in itself is not necessarily a startling revelation, it does bring one of my main concerns in engaging with social networking sites into the light. I am normally disinclined to notify everyone on my friends list that I have gone and clicked a button saying I like this or that. I feel that if people were interested in such things,they would have gone and searched them out for themselves. This, however, does not mean that I would continue to be so disinclined if I thought it would force more action from those who do watch what I do online, the “lurkers.”
Reading this article, I found the process by which many people find new reasons to step outside of the “lurker” patterns of behaviour interesting. By choosing to comment on an article, rather than simply read it, you have entered the world of action. You are no longer a passive consumer. You are now actively consuming the article, because you have become part of the discussion.
So, to this end, I invite all who read my blog (and I know that even with the recent rebadging there are still a few of you) to comment with at least one article out there in the online world that you have read recently. It can be about anything. I also ask you to actively engage with the writer of that article, by commenting on their article. It doesn’t have to be an intellectual tirade. Just let them know that you appreciated them writing it. Sometimes that is all it takes to let a writer know that you are thankful for their efforts. Let’s face it. It’s just plain polite.