Regardless of intention, perception is the message. The PNAS (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America) just released a study tracking the heavy influence that even simple textual content has on our emotions.
“People’s emotional expressions on Facebook predict friends’ emotional expressions, even days later (although some shared experiences may in fact last several days)… The observation of others’ positive experiences constitutes a positive experience for people.”
The three researchers (Adam D. I. Kramera, Jamie E. Guilloryb, and Jeffrey T. Hancock) ran a series of tests on a massive scale, filtering individual news feeds, tracking for emotional and behavioral shifts in future postings and activity of Facebook users.
They bummed a lot of people out.
But the biggest bummer for us is that instead of making people feel safe, brands make people feel sad, frustrated and overwhelmed everyday. It’s not unique to this study. There’s so much content that comes at us on a daily basis and a lot of it’s just being thrown out there without much emotional consideration.
It’s not just noise, it’s bombardment.
Curating your content is more important now than ever. For digital marketers, social media strategists, MBA graduates and pretty much anyone and everyone, we recommend running through this mental checklist before posting a status update.
- Why am I doing this? Just like Simon Sinek, it’s so crucial to start with the why and work out from there. If you don’t have a reason or a goal in mind, it’s basically just digital pollution.
- Who am I trying to reach? This kind of targeting and identification goes beyond basic demographics information. It’s not so much a consideration of gender, income or age, but individual motivations, needs, wants and desires.
- What could I say that would make someone’s day most triumphant? You could probably start by including the phrase, “most triumphant” in whatever you’re posting. It feels really good.
After everything’s said and done, we see this study an incredible to call to action for everyone, but especially brands. We’re all holding this awesome power to dramatically elicit positive emotional experiences into each other’s lives.
Don’t bum people out.