What I love about social media - Part 2

This picture is available on Flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/eltpics/
for educational puposes
I must elaborate on my previous post as I feel that it might have been misinterpreted, especially the last paragraph where I write about social media being superficial. I'm not saying that it's not true because any kind of communication can be superficial. It depends on the people involved, not on the means of communication itself. We all have come across a John Doe on Twitter, for example, who started following Jane Doe just because he wanted to draw attention to himself, not because he was interested in what Jane Doe had to say. And when Jane eventually started following John, he disappeared without a trace. Well, that's life.

Being a member of a community is different. Communities have always been based on the principle of reciprocity - responding to a positive action with another positive action. The sentence "Is it bad that they read your posts because they want you to read theirs?" sounds harsh; it either implies that somebody reads what I write just because they want to draw attention to themselves, or it indicates that I read what other people write because I want to draw attention to myself. One way or another, that's not what I meant. What I meant is that it's like having birthday parties; we get presents from the beloved members of our communities and next time, when it's their birthday, we feel the urge to get them something nice too. And the other way around - we give and we subconsciously expect to get in return.

So how to conclude this? I'm happy when somebody cares - it's a nice feeling because I'm human. I feel grateful and want to show my gratitude. I want to learn about that person as well. And I usually find out that the person has something valuable to offer. So it all starts with the principle of reciprocity and ends up with the principle of humanity.