Blogging seems to be seeping deeper and deeper into our culture. Aditya posted a link to a great NYT article on blogging.
Here’s the quote that got me thinking:
And while there are exceptions, many journal writers exhibit a surprising lack of curiosity about the journals of true strangers. They’re too busy writing posts to browse.
Blogging is really very self-serving (except in my case, because I’m special). People have a strong need for validation, they want to know they are liked, respected, feared, or whatever resonates best with their psyche. When you think of blogging as simply people looking for acceptance, is there any surprise that high school kids gravitate to it?
No, I don’t think it’s wrong to seek validation, I think it’s natural. I wish more people recognized the want for validation as a basic human need. You want to experiment with validation?
Fun with validation:
People will be giving you information all day long, it’s unavoidable. Next time you get information from someone you have two choices. You can say either:
a. “Yeah, I knew that”
Try it out, watch their face. So, what did you learn?
Choosing option “a” is really an attempt to usurp validation from the other person. Sure, you’ve made it clear you already have the information, have you made them respect you? If you short circuit their request for validation they are not going to be happy, in fact, they will be so distracted by you being a “know-it-all” that you will not get any benefit. With choice “a” you both loose.
Choose “b” and you you’ll get a much better response from the other person. Will they think less of you? Unlikely. Will you feel worse? You already know you knew the information, who cares if the other person knows you knew? Get over yourself.
Validation isn’t limited to sharing knowledge, it covers every aspect of the way people communicate. When someone shows you their new camera they really don’t want to know it was the wrong purchase, they want to hear “cool!” There’s no point in telling them they paid too much, who wins?
Okay Reeves, this sounds very touchy-feely… what’s in it for me? Validation, of course. If people feel validated when they talk to you, they will like you. People who like you will do stuff for you. Pretty simple, huh?
Now go tell all your friends to read my blog because I’m really really cool and I know stuff.