Thursday, June 22, 2006

Blogging - Part Five: Trying to Understand the Psychology Behind It All

For many years while in high tech as a CTO, I was fascinated by the development and progression of chat systems from their very first appearance in Internet land. Though this was not part of my normal everyday running of any of the companies that I worked with, it became a hobby of mine. I also gave seminars around the world, entitled, "The Technological Advance and Psychological Effects of Chat Systems". These led me to use the term "viral technology". (This has nothing to do with computer viruses - though the way it works is somewhat the same.) The seminars then advanced to "Understanding The Nature of Viral Systems on the Internet".

In the next few posts I am going to try and explain all this, and why it is so important to understand that in such seemingly simple things as getting a blog up, working and making it popular. Viral Technology, is an important factor here. We have until this point have only "scratched the tip of the iceberg" as the cliche goes. And there are so many things to understand and deal with. However, being a writer and author, first and foremost, my mind works on different very illogical connections at times. What I am going to try to get at in the next couple of posts is an understanding of how the circle of content-SE's works, and what is important here. I think by way of examples and using "real life" understanding on the virtual Internet, we can get a better grasp of what is going on and what it is not.

It is critical to understand that we are not only dealing with technology here. We are dealing with psychology and the Internet has a way of digging deep down into individual motivations and actions. Let me first give you an example I found to be incredibly interesting and totally revealing.

On one of the forum boards I sometimes log into, which is populated by a serious and highly intelligent (for the most part) group of people, there are threads for just joking or ranting, as there are on all other Forums. Since many are "virtual" friends these threads are populated by people who banter, give and take, and joke around from time to time to take time off from the vicissitudes of life. Sometimes members ask for serious advice in regard to family and children etc. Now one such member, discovered that her young son had developed an incredible interest (or so she thought) in her "boobs". She wanted to know if this was normal, for a child of that age to discover the difference between sexes. So she began a thread on the topic. And the thread developed. At first serious, but of course, since everyone there are "virtual" friends the joking started. What was interesting to follow, is that both Males and Females started in joking ways of course, to describe either the size of their chests and/or how they liked or disliked the male population looking at them of if they wanted their breasts smaller or larger etc. The males revealed the size of their wives and girl-friends chests and other such what one might call normally "intimate" knowledge. Some even said: "My (wife or husband or boyfriend or girlfriend) would not be happy if they knew I was writing about this". All of this was done in a semi-serious and joking manner. What was interesting is that I am 100% sure, some people would type out a response, post it, and then say to themselves, "Did I really say that in PUBLIC???" I am willing to bet, based upon experience and studies, that many of these people would NEVER consider SAYING out loud what they typed - say at a party of friends or a dinner or a social gathering.

The Internet makes us free with our thoughts. It allows us freedom that we don't otherwise have, to reveal our "other-side". The reasons for this are many, not the least of which that we are behind a screen. No on can see our facial expressions (not talking about cams here - a whole different subject) or our body language. Most important - we cannot be physically touched. There is always that barrier.

To be sure there is the downside of all this. Fakers, charlatans, people acting as someone from the other gender - horror stories galore. However, one thing cannot be denied: (This is not the place to discuss this issue. It is worthy of probably a few hundred posts in and of itself. So I will leave it for now with just the chapter heading.)

The Internet has created a whole new psychological study of the human mind and the way it works. And this is CRITICAL to understanding why some things, some sites, some blogs - make it, while others, seemingly so much better and so much more savvy fall by the wayside.

One of the greatest original "pull" and "attractions" of blogs is the ability for many to get out their "private" thoughts to the world at large in a journal or diary manner. They can reveal what they would be too scared or too shy to reveal with words and lips and mouth in a public setting of individuals all sitting around a table. Though, I for one, do not enjoy or visit blogs of this nature, it remains true that most blogger's are doing just that. And what is more important to understand, is that many of the blogger's do not care how many hits they get. It is the catharsis of getting it out. The act of putting it "out there:" that is all important.

Since we are dealing with technology and the desire to build a blog that WILL GET A FOLLOWING and hits, we must understand what motivates and interests people to come to and read what we are posting and saying. We must understand the WHY? as well as the How?

In the next post, we will deal with a definition of "Viral Technologies" and from there we will have a greater understanding as to how to begin to spread the word of our blogs with methods that apply the technological and psychological. Remember though this is not mathematical science. It is just one of the ways to understanding what is going on. It is not foolproof nor does it always work. But it will possibly give us a deeper understanding of the "virtual world" we sometimes live in, and probably more importantly, a better understanding of ourselves.

Previous Articles In This Series:

  1. The Basics of Blogging and Web Site Creation - Part One: Content Is King

  2. The Basics of Blogging and Web Site Creation - Part Two: Introduction To Keywords

  3. Part Three - Keywords, Tags, Categories - Oh Vey! I Am So Mixed Up!

  4. Blogging & Website Basics - Part Four: So How The Hell Do I Get Bonafide Links To My Blog?

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Categories: technology, internet, Basics of Blogging Series
Blogging - Part Five: Viral Systems - Trying to Understand the Psychology Behind It All

Edited With Qumana

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