Friday, January 2, 2009

The end of restraint: addiction to feedback

Rypple makes a ton of sense and I couldn't be more supportive of the idea. Everyone wants to give and get good, honest feedback. Right? It's anonymous, you can track progress over time (read: puts metrics in our own hands) - it satisfies needs to express ourselves, better ourselves, and potentially help out others. 

The Economist introduces Rypple in it's Jan 1 issue like this: 

"One defining characteristic of the Net Generation is that it thrives on feedback."

It made me think about the role of feedback in social media at large... Does self-verification drive engagement in social media, or is it simply condoned narcissism, as someone challenged me yesterday? 

I think there is a fundamental need for validation that's satisfied in blogging, Tweeting, Facebooking, etc. as well as in the consumption of metadata (e.g. blog traffic, # following, # friends, # friend requests). Sure, there's some narcissism (read: ego traps), but there are more diluted goals related to being verified in your social network. You want your network to know you and understand you for who you think you are (your beliefs, actions, and feelings). You want to know your impact on them as well - think footprint, perception, not Authority. 

Or maybe that's just genuine participation

The problem that I foresee is that we're becoming addicted to feedback and resisting introspection. Sorry, Socrates. 

Is this conditioned narcissism?

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