If you frequent social media sites, like Facebook or Twitter, you almost cannot avoid being exposed to all manner of shameless self-promotion. Everybody is desperate to sell you something. Everybody has something to sell, it seems.
While the constant bombardment of low level advertising can become a little tiresome, especially if it crowds out the genuine human interactions, you have to admit that there are some brilliant people out there, even if they are well-meaning self promoters. Unfortunately, the line between self-promotion and self-aggrandisement is very thin. Self-absorption is not far away either.
It was this prevalence of people trying to show their latest products that got me to thinking. I wonder why people on social media networks aren’t more inclined to promote their brilliant friends. It is meant to be word of mouth marketing that sells best, so why is it that more people don’t spread the word about their amazing and creative friends? It’s somehow unexpected that things should be so.
I know some brilliant people, both in real life and through meeting them on social networking sites. I mean astonishingly creative and productive artists, wise sages, experts, generous healers and beautiful spirits. Wouldn’t it be nice if we all went out of our way to shamelessly promote our wonderful friends? They have the talent. Their results are clearly worthy. Why not?
It has been shown that showing gratitude to people that have helped you, or influenced you in some way, can lift your spirits for weeks at a time. There’s something about giving thanks to others that makes us feel good about ourselves and the world. It has been shown, clinically, to elevate mood and promote a more positive and happier disposition. In short, it is effective. People that express gratitude directly to their recipients also experience more contentment and hope.
So why not use social media as a platform for expressions of gratitude? Giving thanks for the presence of your gifted friends, for knowing them, for the enrichment of all our lives and witnessing their talent, in a public acknowledgement of their talent and qualities, sounds like an ideal use for such a word of mouth publicity machine. Celebrate the uniqueness of your most cherished friends. Sing their praises. I’m sure you won’t be the only person that feels uplifted, when you do. Everybody reading will also smile. The recipient of your praise will perhaps feel some discomfort and embarrassment, but it’s equally likely they will feel buoyed and inspired. Your overt support and encouragement may help them go on to create even better works, who knows? It’s a win-win situation.
When I stop and think about the people I appreciate most, I discover the list of exceptional human beings that I have the good fortune to encounter, almost every day, is astonishingly long and deep. I know some excellent, amazing people, with tremendous character. Perhaps I’ll begin to use this blog to post the occasional article telling you all about how extraordinary, remarkable and admirable they are. Dear friends, you have been warned. 🙂
The German language has a word that has been borrowed into English: schadenfreude – the joy you get from seeing others experience adversity or misfortune. I wonder what the opposite of schadenfreude is? Perhaps it’s erfolgfreude or leistungsfreude (which I assert mean getting joy from other people’s success or achievements).
Imagine if the media focused on celebrating the outstanding qualities of people, instead of being judgemental, exposing weakness, digging for scandal and dragging people through the mud. Celebrities can be extraordinary artists. I wonder why the media never really says so. I’d find it interesting to read about extraordinary things that amazing people had just done. In fact, I actually do read such reports, on social media, daily. That’s the best thing about it, to me. You can watch people achieve, grow, reach their goals and realise their dreams. What a wonderful story to watch. It’s even better if you can participate and help it along, a little.
Imagine a world full of heartfelt benedictions to one another. Imagine a world where it was normal and routine to warmly celebrate and promote everybody else. In a world like that, odds are that while you were busy telling everyone that will listen how great your friends are, somebody else (or many somebodies) would be telling everybody else how awesome you are too. We could have that world simply by eschewing judgementalism, competition, division, hatred, prejudice and harshness in favour of praise, encouragement, appreciation and recognition. Denigration would be replaced by celebration. It would be so easy to change the whole world into this better place. We just need to decide.
It seems to me that if we spread the love and give more love, then more love will abound. It’s a positive feedback loop, replacing the downward spiral. That has to be a worthwhile goal for humanity, surely.