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The Psychology of Social Media Interactions


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Someone, Anyone, No-One: These psychological scenarios provide a heuristic to understand recent innovations and help us to predict where we might go next in Social Media.

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The Psychology of Social Media Interactions

  1. 1. Someone, Anyone, No-one The Psychological Drivers Behind Social Innovations
  2. 2. Three Psychological Scenarios Online Someone Anyone No-one Baroness Susan Greenfield: ID: The Quest for Meaning in the 21st Century and Mind Change
  3. 3. The Someone Scenario Characteristics Aspiration to a unique, fulfilled self, often driven by consumerism Someone ● React well to personalised messaging ● Creative can engender envy of a projected, potential future self ● Choice and interactivity are paramount
  4. 4. A Coke is a Coke and no amount of money can get you a better Coke than the one the bum on the corner is drinking. All the Cokes are the same and all the Cokes are good. Someone - The Illusion of Personalisation
  5. 5. ● Use CRM data to feed personalised ads ● Track meaningful metrics - tailored GA goals and ROI measurement ● Multi-Product Ads for suggested content ● Video retargeting; lookalike audiences based on those who interact Someone - Innovations and Opportunities
  6. 6. The Anyone Scenario Characteristics The individual identity is subsumed into the mass collective, providing a sense of belonging ● Generalised, impersonal narratives that engage with the zeitgeist ● Appeal to universal, intrinsic human qualities such as curiosity and empathy Anyone
  7. 7. “To be at the centre of the world, and yet to remain hidden from the world [..] The spectator is a prince who everywhere rejoices in his incognito.” Charles Baudelaire, The Painter of Modern Life Anyone - The Anonymity of the Crowd ● Appeal to intrinsic curiosity ● On trend, offer social status ● Belonging without commitment But does popularity equate to quality?
  8. 8. The No-One Scenario Characteristics An abnegation of the self; an individual becomes a passive recipient for their senses ● Promise of instant gratification - likes, shares, comments ● Visceral messaging; the immediacy of imagery appeals ● Caused by underactive prefrontal cortex (responsible for planning and decision-making) No-One
  9. 9. “But pleasures are like poppies spread: You seize the flow'r, its bloom is shed; Or like the snow falls on the river, A moment white - then melts forever” Robert Burns, Tam O’Shanter No-One - The Promise of Gratification ● Interactions cause dopamine release; and therefore anticipation of further reward ● Small pieces of visual information are easily digested ● Unpredictability - withholding updates, surprising customers How can we experiment further?
  10. 10. How Should we Adapt? Harness technological advances to enhance creativity - new media require new messages. We have only begun to experiment with these latest developments Create more meaningful measurement frameworks. The value of Social and the traffic it drives is lost too frequently Strategise with these timeless psychological scenarios in mind. Demographic data is crucial, but people are often driven by atavistic factors too
  11. 11. Thanks! @clarkboyd