It is becoming increasingly clear that social media is more of a cultural phenomenon than a technological one. It is shaping our behaviours, our expectations and increasingly our view of ourselves. This is well illustrated in a new piece of research from the Future Foundation, which reveals that social networkers are 48% more likely than non-users of social media to “strongly feel the need to be appreciated by others.”
You could argue this this betrays a woeful insecurity, but it is a logical consequence of social media’s cult of affirmation. The quality of everything we do, everything we create, everything we say in the ubiquitous online world is determined by the opinions of others: their shares, likes, retweets, links. As an attendee at a focus group once told me: “If it isn’t worth sharing it isn’t any good.” Not surprisingly, the same Future Foundation study indicates that 59% of us “like it when people acknowledge my posts/photos/comments on social media sites.”
This has interesting implications for internal communications. Employees have always wanted to feel appreciated – for their unique contribution to be recognised and rewarded – but the Future Foundation argues that social media has magnified this fundamental human need. Like me, retweet me, share me … but whatever you do, don’t under appreciate me.