I am driving and listening to BBC Business Radio. I hear a conversation on LinkedIn likes & endorsements .The radio commentator expresses that LinkedIn Likes & endorsements are a fatally flawed strategy and criticises it further by saying, “it is nothing more than- I scratch your back and you scratch mine strategy.
Having closely observed so much of the likes activity on LinkedIn myself, I agree with the commentator but I am also confused, isn’t that just being human. We as human believe in reciprocity. It is human to feel the obligation to give back when someone gives you something.
But as days go by, I am thinking more and more, do I genuinely like the content people put out and give them likes or do I give a like because then feeling the obligation they will give me a like too or because last time they gave me like, so this time I have to too.
To understand this better, I started to understand reciprocity and the answer was clear.
Sociologist Marcel Mauss wrote about recriprocity hundred of years ago, and he argued that the entire primitive societies were built on it. For example, the fisherman would give fish to people who lived inland and people who lived inland would give vegetables to fisherman and that is why reciprocity was so important to our societies but in capitalist societies, this instinct of reciprocity is easily misused.
I follow selected people on social media and I give likes to their content on social media but they don’t put their work out because they are hoping for a like from me. And I can’t give anything in return to the art they produce. There is no possibility of reciprocity but that doesn’t hold me from genuinely feeling the urge to like what they put out because it truly deserves my attention.
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