Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Please "Like" me

Understanding Social (Media) Acceptance

HOW MANY LIKES? How many +1’s, retweets or how many followers and appreciative comments did you get? Do you want 4 more to make a 1000 on your page, are you being congratulated on hitting double century on your group or is one more ‘like’ all you need to reach the next 100?
Life as we knew it is slowly filtering itself into the virtual world too. We evolved as social animals: living, hunting, learning, and working cooperatively. To our ancestors, being accepted and helped by the group was the only way they could ensure their own and their offspring's survival. Rejection could very well kill them. Millennia later and far from the African savanna, humans are still social creatures, and we still need meaningful interpersonal relationships in order to thrive—even the introverts among us. Like hunger or thirst, our need for acceptance emerged as a mechanism for survival.
Anyone who lived through school sports knows the anxiety of being picked last for the team. The same hurt feelings bubbles up today when no one likes your picture or post, when you read messages off someone else’s wall and wish you were a part of their lives or when you see people congratulating your ex and their new love interest. Research has proved that as far as the brain is concerned, a broken heart is not so different from a broken arm.
Rejection in any form feels lousy.
How then can we help each other feel accepted, needed and ‘liked’ in the virtual world?
Get in Rapport:  Rapport is a state of trusting openness. Where there is a feeling of closeness and safety. Where by a person is less consciously critical of ideas and suggestions offered to them by another. Where there is (what we refer to in NLP as) a Perception of Likeness and Liking = I like you therefore you can like me.
Sometimes, the natural desire to be accepted can make us do things we might not do otherwise. Can you think of one such incident where you behaved out of character? I’m sure you can. So as a simple antidote how about creating rapport over social media? Let’s be more liberal with our likes and less critical in our comments. Let’s avoid abusive language and be more sensitive to our choice of words. Let’s pause to like a post or pic before you choose to copy/share it. Instead of thinking that's nice, why not say it; it's nice. Together; let’s build a virtual world based on the Perception of Likeness and Liking. 

Get Real: “Cyberspace” is not a term generally used any longer. In fact, it seems to me that no one really speaks of a division between the real world and the cyber world any longer. Rather, people speak of how close and integrated they are and of technologies and ways to bring them even closer. I think a whole other domain of existence is quietly but rapidly merging with our “natural” existence and unless we are careful the result will not be favorable to us. 
Be realistic about your friend/follower list. The virtual world has the ability to make us feel extremely wanted one moment and totally rejected the next. Know that. Accept it. Take a genuine look at your friend/follower list. How many of them have you interacted with in the last six months? Is it really possible that they all know you, leave aside ‘like’ you? How many just sit there in your friend list without even pleasantries being exchanged? How many are acquaintances? How many strangers? How many purely cyber- friends?  
Focus your attention on the real world. Give social media only that much thought that it deserves. That much time as is benefitting. Obsessive, addictive, compulsive dependency will only bring forth anxiety, sadness, loneliness and worse still, illness or depression. Online social networking–or online anything–gives the impression of individuality, of discrete human beings behind the messages, but the fact is that nothing about the cyber world uniquely or necessarily links to the real world. Therefore, you@whatever is not really you; it could just as easily be me: simply give me your username and password. 
In conclusion; we should all ask ourselves: if we can have and exist in only one of these two worlds, the real or the cyber, which would we choose? I would choose the real for its sunrises and sunsets, its birds tweeting and flowers blooming, its coffee with conversations and its touch of a loved one, for its hustle - bustle, and (if I should so choose) for its sheer convenience of being able to bang my head against a real wall....
Note 1: Self-acceptance is key. Social acceptance closely follows. Self-acceptance is an endless unconditional journey of self-discovery. Self-acceptance also enables you to give yourself fully and freely to the world because you are not looking for approval, you are not afraid of rejection and you are simply interested in living an authentic life.
 Note 2: The above does not necessarily refer to businesses and/or other similar initiatives where the key to success is engaging people by providing content/services which individuals find interesting and valuable.


  1. Real people live, breath and love in their Real World. If the 'likes' come their way, it is fine. Cyber world is just another platform, which gives them an opportunity to share, without much effort. This amazing video will surely buttress my point

    1. Thank you so much for sharing your point of view and the inspiring video.