Accidental Narcissists

My mom used to chastise me, “you’re not the center of the universe, you know!”. That was a hard concept for my young mind to comprehend, especially considering I was an only child. I may have been told the universe didn’t revolve around me, but my experiences and interactions told a very different tale. When I got my first smartphone I thought again of my mother’s words. I now had a device that allowed me access to any knowledge compiled in human history, instantly connect with people of only my choosing, as well as blast my unfiltered thoughts out to the world. Smartphones have made the world unimaginably small and placed people at the center of the universe. Thanks to Uber, Grubhub and Tinder, we can now browse for a ride, a meal and a mate with our two hands from any location we desire. This new reality created an entire world of ‘Accidental Narcissists’ and that’s ok. It’s not a de-evolution. It’s just something new.

 

Smartphones have made the world unimaginably small and placed people at the center of the universe.

 

It’s impossible to not get swept up in our own mobile universe when so much is available at our fingertips. Studies show that people look at the phones an average of 1,500 times per week, spending more than 177 minutes per day on them. Modern brains are conditioned to expect on-demand answers and entertainment. If you’re developing a campaign that does not take this into account then you’re designing a campaign for brains that don’t exist anymore.

 

Social media users are looking for content and the conversation taking place around the product.

 

90% of smartphone users are not looking for a particular brand when they are searching for information. According to a November 2015 user survey, 60 percent of Instagram users say that they discover new products on the platform. That same survey found that 75 percent of users say that they’ve taken action after being inspired by a post. Social media users are looking for content and the conversation taking place around the product. It is our job to be prepared for this and build a campaign that grabs their attention when they’ve decided to seek us out.

 

We use social media as a carrier of emotional contagion; we want others to experience our own mood and thoughts.

 

How do we build a digital campaign that accomplishes all of this? For that you also have to understand the secret psychology of social behavior. Why does some content go viral? Why does Grumpy Cat resonate on a huge scale? How does “Damn Daniel” capture imaginations? Remember, there are humans behind each computer screen. There are a handful of factors that fuel our social behavior. We use social media as a carrier of emotional contagion; we want others to experience our own mood and thoughts. We also want to provoke curiosity in our own brand (ourselves) and create a social commentary. We do this by sharing social content that reflects who we are, who our friends are and what they’ll accept. My mom is going to kill me for saying this, but we need to make people feel like they are the center of the universe.

Check back next week to learn how and why people share.

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- Michael Dennis - Digital Strategist and Content Creator