Sure, I’d love to have that beer when I check in your restaurant or get a 10% discount on that jumper if I’m in your store for 20 times, but what if you’re not giving me anything in return for my check in? Why should I bother sliding my fingers on my smartphone to look you up before I hit the check in button? Ahhhh, yes! Of course! It feels good to tell the rest of the world that I’m sipping a $20 martini drink on that rooftop, or that I’m in that luxury mall doing my Halloween shopping… Most of us have done that, yet seldom do we question the motives behind it. Well, my initial analysis tells me that this boosts my ego and keeps Foursquare active and growing.
So what are the most common ego-boosters and how are they re-defining our online engagements? My attempt here is to zero in on one single human feeling that social networks use and in some instances, dare I say, abuse. I am talking about OUR EGO! There are many ego-boosters that social networks are embedding in their services to ensure that we are keeping our ego in check.
Notifications on Facebook make us happy . Their flowing is an indicator of acceptance from our circle of friends and at the same time, they boost our ego. The same goes for the Like button; the more people give us a thumbs up on what we post, the more points are added to our ego which in turn translates to more engagement and keeps Mark Zuckerberg yeying.
Increasing the number of followers and receiving more retweets and mentions in Twitter plays a similar role because we are in a constant race to capture a bigger audience for whatever we share. The fact that it is easy to compare each other’s activity is an undeclared human ego war.
Klout, which to me aggregates the results of our ego boosters, to become on its own a very strong one, is now giving us an “influence” score to maintain. Some already dread that their Klout score might go down. On top of that, Klout dashboards mimic the charts and numbers that we usually see in stock exchanges and make it easy for us to compare ourselves to others.
The list goes on but what I would like to say here is that ego boosters do not have to be seen as a bad thing. Having said that, we should be aware of their existence and the way they are spreading to our social graph.
Going forward, social networks or any community based activity in the online world will continue to be filled with ego-boosters. Use them wisely.