I am driving and listening to BBC business radio. I hear a conversation on LinkedIn about “likes” and “endorsements.” The radio commentator expresses that LinkedIn “likes” and “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, I agree with the commentator, but I am also confused. Isn’t that just being human? As humans, we believe in reciprocity. It is human to feel the obligation to give back when someone gives you something.
But as days go by, and as I ponder this, I ask myself if I genuinely like the content people put out and give them likes or do I “like” because I expect that they will “like” my content in return or vice versa.
To understand this better, I researched on reciprocity and the answer became clear to me. Sociologist Marcel Mauss wrote about reciprocity hundreds of years ago, and he argued that the primitive societies were built upon reciprocity. For example, the fishermen would give fish to people, who lived inland, and the people would give vegetables to the fishermen in return. That is why reciprocity has become second nature to the way we relate to one another in our societies.
But we don’t live in that era anymore and somewhere our humanised version of reciprocity is shaping in to inflating egos strategy.
I follow selected people on social media, and sometimes, I like their content. I am certain they don’t put their work out there because they are hoping for me or others to “like” their content. They produce their art, it resonates, likes happen. I think somewhere in the game of likes we forgot about creating resonance through content. Those who protect their cognitive capacities by avoiding the like game and build good content focussed on resonance and connection will succeed. Because just getting likes doesn’t get you business.
This is my path, you decide yours.
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