I TOOK THIS IMAGE OF A SEA OF UN-BLOWN DANDELION SEEDS, as I walked past a local closed-off section of parkland with my soon-to-be eight year old daughter, BlakMadge™ [that’s her codename]. She could hardly contain her little-self when she spotted the field surrounded by a 12 foot fence, hence why they were all mostly still intact. Little children just cannot contain themselves, much less resist the lure to approach, pick, wish, and blow — what most adults would call weeds — and so in the regular park area, all the remaining visible Dandelions were just stalks, and had already been blown away by said excited children. Poor BlakMadge™ I thought to myself, as she looked around franticly for a way in… Alas there was none [sad face].
When I was growing up, we used to call Dandelions: “Wet the beds”! My big sister assured me [grrrr] that if I even touched one, that would result in me wetting the bed, hence the name, and I remember her sharing with glee, that there’d be absolutely NOTHING I could do about it! From that moment on, I stayed as far as I could from them… Having said that, I had no idea at the time, that what we called: “wishing flowers” were actually Dandelion seeds! Duh!… This might answer a few questions looking back (ahem)
What’s my point? Well, I’ve been looking at the topic of Engagement this week. No not the marriage ting!… well, actually come to think of it, it’s all connected… No, what I’m talking about this time is Engagement in terms of putting out original content online, and the amount of attraction we see back, from the masses around that uploaded content.
In this digital era of online, MultipleMediaManagement™, and constant connectivity, engagement seems to be at an all time low. Content is being created, and uploaded at the greatest rate it ever has, yet the masses seem to only engage with a small percentage of it, while ignoring the majority. Therefore an interesting parallel is the study of how one weed, the Dandelion, can have children literally running to engage, excitedly blowing the seeds, while the yellow flower of that same Dandelion, because of myth and superstitious belief, [and horrid big sisters] can have those same children running in the opposite direction, screaming with fright. LOL
Likewise with the content online, some of it causes the masses to run toward it excitedly, salivating with intent on “getting stuck in”, while other content, albeit connected to the same root, wouldn’t get touched for love nor money with a twelve-foot onion bhaji-pole. An easy example; the ubiquitous “he-said-she-said male/female” related post, vs the building balanced family, community, and Nation style post. Hmmm Interesting… [said raising a Mr Spock eyebrow while scratching ones chin]
I’ve been using the social network site, Linked-in recently, and they sent me a survey to fill in, to rate my experience on the site. [Who told them to do that? Yikes!…] To cut a long story short, I made it plain to them, that my experience on their site was similar to the experience I get when I visit loved ones in a graveyard. [Yikes! No kidding!…] Check it out; You go along to the cemetery apprehensively, and you see all these tombstones displaying information, appearing like content from other people in your Linked-in feed. You might read a few lines as you walk along, but there is little to no engagement. If you look and see a crowd over yonder in the midst of the burial ground, you know instantly that that is a new arrival; a funeral taking place. THAT is the ONLY time you’ll see mass engagement; when someone dies! Someone has to literally DIE!… I find it’s mostly the same on the Social Network platforms I use.
When my wife, Janet, suddenly died in 2013, I immediately got a massive flood of engagement on my FaceBook feed. Prior to that, if I had more than four likes, and three comments, on any given upload, I classed it as a good day and went to bed feeling productive. No matter how hard I tried, no matter what community issues I posted, no matter how hard I attempted to Engage; Nada!… It took a death in the family, for people to instantly know where my feed was, and to finally engage, offering what is called “Condolences”.
I sometimes wonder whether one of reasons we appear to engage more at times of death, is because of the lure of Condolence. It’s kind of like a perverse version of an excited child, rushing to blow dandelion seeds, and seeing the effect, all the while knowing how effortless, spontaneous, and brief it will be.
Collins Dictionary, describes condolence as: an expression of sympathy, especially on the occasion of a death. All you have to do is say: “Condolences” and you’re done! You don’t even have to know what condolences are!… Not only that, but you come across as caring; especially if you get yours in first! You don’t have to know the person who died, or even the person you’re saying it to! Condolence is a Gee! Condolence is win-win! It’s almost like a magic word, or a get out of jail card. Condolence is an adults version of saying: “veinlights” of “bagsie”… When you utter these made-up words as a child, you can rest assured that from that moment on, you’ll be rolling through the hood with impunity! GwaaanTroughMyoooot!… Sadly, just like saying “veinlights or Bagsie” the effect of saying: “Condolences” is brief, and in terms of engagement, pretty cheap.
Now that we have grown up though, and become adults, I wonder whether these initial ideas from our childhood are the driving force behind our adult ideas around how we engage with one another?… Uploaded original content today appears to be a cross between; Dandelion flowers, and Dandelion seeds, in an un-trampled corner of the online cemetery; exciting and repulsing the masses in equal measure. Just a thought [smile]…
[More pondering can be mulled over on my MicroWebSeries Life And Times Of a MultipleMediaManager™ ]