Share your shit and live happily ever afterJuly 31st, 2008 | Posted by in Social
Do you have a fun life full of positive emotions? Do you want it or more of it? How about flow and meaning in your life? It´s actually wiser to go for the latter two if you want longer lasting life satisfaction. I have a dream to use psychographic analysis of the blogosphere to help people have more life satisfaction – and maybe also a little fun while at it.
Martin Seligman is a psychologist who have spent his life to relieve misery and help people live happier. In this interesting and inspiring TED-talk he tells about research showing that what helps people the most feel life satisfaction isn´t pleasant experiences triggering positive emotions, but knowing your strenghts and let them guide you in crafting your life. I couldn´t agree more.
Knowing your strenghts actually changes your life
When I personally found out about the work on personality types by C.G. Jung, Isabel Briggs Myers, David Keirsey and Katherine Benziger my life changed in many ways. Digging deeper into what these modern (ahh well, everything is relative) researchers have done and in some cases still do I started realizing that they stand on the shoulders of many known and unknown giants. The draw on ancient wisdom and spiritual practices that, it seems to me, it is finally time to actualize again.
There is so much magnificence in the ocean of blogs
My take on it has to do with what is happening on the Internet today. At no time in human history have so many people had the opportunity to let their thoughts and feelings be shared with so many others. Although we are more people on earth than ever – in a way we are all getting closer to each other – and fast! The blogosphere is, to me, the most beatiful example of what is going on. The conversation is growing for each day. And there is definately not only pleasant experiences and positve emotions that is shared. There is also a lot of misery and negativity that is shared. And thats because the blogosphere is a place where we actually are being human in public. Society has taught us to keep a low profile with the miserable part of our selves and not to show negative emotions such as anger, hatred, sadness and grief. Those are aspects of ourselves that social conditioning has learned us to consider Private – to be kept within the walls of our homes; or better still within the walls of our psychologists office. That has begun to change.
I had a long walk with my friend and flat-mate Björn today and he told me about a pay-off from the social media conference ReBoot 10 in Copenhagen this summer. Tor Nörretranders (one of my idols since I read his great book The User Illusion on how our minds work) held an opening speach that made Marjolein Hoekstra on Stewe Boyds blog to sum up the whole conference with the slogan
Share Your Shit
Thoughts and feelings can also be re-cycled
Just like the waste products of us human beeings (piss, shit, carbon dioxide and in the end our whole body) is actually needed to nurture plants animals and the rest of beatiful mother earth the waste products of our brains can also be used as fertilizers in the eco-system of other human beeings. What goes on in our heads – for good or for bad – is actually of much more use to ourselves and other people when shared with others. Both to create bonds between us, spread ideas, get inspiration or warning and for others to learn what we need and desire. The latter is actually crucial to the people providing us with goods of all sorts.
Consumer Insights soon available in a theater near you
In these days of late capitalism companies need to compete not only with price and quality, but also with customizing service and products to ever more demanding customers. To do so, companies need to listen to and understands the needs of their customers. The ever growing blogosphere is actually a great place to go for companies wanting to gain insights – a presumably unthought of bi-effect of the creation of web logs not so long ago. When blogs first were starting to be used by “ordinary” people outside the tech or research community thanks to people like the guys that started Six Apart – today most known as Typepad. Today many companies provide free to use blogging tools, thus empowering people all over the world to have their own printing press rapidly merging with voice and video technologies to help them share with the world what is on, or rather IN, their minds. I truly love this development and think that this is one of, if not THE most, important driving forces in the course of human civilization. But that´s just me…
The PRfekt Insight is meant for everyone
The thing is that companies wanting to know what their customers thought used to have to buy expensive customer surveys (market research) or read carefully what either the news reported from the depths of the masses or what people actually wrote in pages dedicated to the voice of ordinary people (media analysis). Today the very foundations for learning what the customers think about what you do are changing. The idea about PRfekt is to harvest the possibilities of the blogosphere in this changing consumer environment – but not only helping companies understand customers, but also helping ordinary people without research and marketing budgets to gain acces to the same knowledge in order to live more satisfying lifes. It works, you know.
Martin Seligman reminds us to remember that what really makes people the most satisfied with their lives is to realize that there are three sources of happiness in life. What is the least effective, but the most visible is the pursuit of pleasant experiences in order to create positive emotions. It makes us laugh and enjoy and is necessary to live a happy and fulfilling life. Though, it has some obvious down sides and keeps us rather busy pursuing more and more. The two ways of providing happiness and satisfaction in life are the good life (crafting your work, love and play in accordance with your personal strenghts) and the meaningful life (philantrophy). Both require that you know what Martin Seligman calls your signature strenghts. He has developed a self-test for people to use in order to learn about them selves. There are lots of other popular questionaires out there for those who seek. PRfekt, however, is making it possible for people to learn about themselves without lifting a finger other than the one used to post on their blogs. With the help of computer linguistics we´re developing several different tools for analyzing the psyche of a blogger for both free and commercial use. Stay tuned during this autumn and you´ll get to test it for yourself and give us feedback on how you think it works and how it can be used to help you whether you are private or a pro.
Love and hugs!