5 Provocative Articles on Showing Humanity in Social Media
by Stacie Hoffmeister | 18 November 2014
So I’ll just come out and say it.
Sometimes reading Facebook makes me sad.
When I get sad, it’s not because I’m reading bad news. It’s because I’m reading “perfect” news about the “perfect” lives of “perfect” people. Do you get what I’m saying? According to the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States (PNAS) you get what I’m saying.
“Experimental evidence of massive-scale emotional contagion through social networks” is a study published by the PNAS earlier this year. It confirms that the phenomenon of emotional contagion (that people can unknowingly catch the mood of the person(s) around them) is present on social networks. The experiments were done using Facebook.
When I read about this study, it made me feel better about my not feeling better when reading Facebook. I responded by logging off of Facebook for several weeks, until the World Cup games pulled me back in.
This personal experience showed me as a branding professional how important it is for brands to be human on social media. Disdain, fear, or apathy towards our consumers can be felt through social media. In the same way, appreciation, respect, and honesty can be sensed too. It’s easy for us to lose sight of the fact that social media is about being social and like-able. As in human relationships, when brands want to engage consumers and form a connection, warmth trumps cool and authenticity wins over pretense.
Here are 5 recent articles that explore how emotional contagion is at work in social media, for the good and the bad:
Why Being Human on Social Media Is the Best Strategy You’ll Ever Have: Social media at its core is social. It’s about real relationships with real people.. – Jackie Johnstone – http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/238871
Gangs using social media to recruit and intimidate: There was a time when gangs did their advertising the old-fashioned way: through graffiti on walls; spreading their message slowly, one block at a time. – Keith Whitney – http://www.13wmaz.com/story/news/local/georgia/2014/11/01/gangs-social-media-recruitment/18321951/
6 Reasons Why You Should Quit Facebook: Studies reveal that Facebook makes us spend more, work less and generally, discourages us. – Anna James – http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/239537
The Fall of Facebook: …users are spreading themselves around, maintaining Facebook as their social spine, but investing in and loving a wide variety of other social apps. – by Alexis C. Madrigal – http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2014/12/the-fall-of-facebook/382247/
Is Social Media Making Women More Insecure? Glamour Magazine Believes It is: Every expert Glamour interviewed for this report agreed. We now have “a bigger platform than ever for us to obsess over appearance,” says Evelyn Meier, who is researching Facebook’s effects on body image at American University in Washington, D.C. – by Courtney Whitaker – http://madamenoire.com/482861/social-media-making-women-insecure-glamour-magazine-believes/
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Stacie Hoffmeister is an organizational coach and branding professional. She is the founder of organizational coaching firm, Facts and Heresies. Facts and Heresies helps individuals step up into their next level of personal and professional potential. Based in the New York, NY and Westchester County, NY area, Stacie serves individual professionals and organizations in her area and all over the world.