One of my favorites podcasts is the NY Times Ezra Klein Show. He can take a seemingly dry topic and making it incredibly interesting. A recent podcast really had me thinking about what motivates us to engage on social media. He interviews philosopher C. Thi Nguyen (see what I mean…you might not think an interview with a philosopher would be interesting but it is!). Nguyen explains how much of life is gamified…rewards for simple, repeated conscious or unconscious behaviors, and how social media uses gamification to keep us engaged. It’s too much to get into here, but that’s the general idea and worth a listen.
I’ve always tried to keep my feed authentic and motivated by my desire to share something that I’m genuinely proud of or excited about. But in the back of my mind, I also wonder what’s my primary motivation for posting? I admit to checking how many likes I get on posts, and do enjoy getting feedback on my images. So it’s difficult to tease out one from the other and easy to get caught up in the game of social media rewards.
What about from the perspective of viewing social media content? What’s your motivation? That’s gamified as well. You see an image, spend a few seconds looking at it, hit the like button, and keep scrolling. Why do you hit the like button? Do you engage on social media so you’ll get more engagement on your posts? I'd love to hear what your motivation is for engaging in social media and do you think it has a gamified reward system?
For the image above, this is a popular spot in the Canadian Rockies. I was there during the day and there were hoards of people. It had cleared out entirely in the evening and I couldn't believe I had the place to myself, or so I thought. I was shooting as the light was getting better and better. Around the time I took this image, I heard a rustling noise in the shoulder high willows behind me, which gave me a jolt of adrenaline. I turned around to see a very healthy brown bear feeding in the willows only 30 feet away from me. Exciting and scary as that was, I was torn about moving because the light was so good! I moved away, and was able to watch the bear for half an hour in the fading twilight.