Eugene Wei’s long read on status as a service is a useful lens to understand the underlying motivation of those you come across on social networks. His launching point:
Let's begin with two principles:
- People are status-seeking monkeys
- People seek out the most efficient path to maximizing social capital
Even those who decide not to spend their time on social media are not immune:
Some people find status games distasteful. Despite this, everyone I know is engaged in multiple status games. Some people sneer at people hashtag spamming on Instagram, but then retweet praise on Twitter. Others roll their eyes at photo albums of expensive meals on Facebook but then submit research papers to prestigious journals in the hopes of being published. Parents show off photos of their children performances at recitals, people preen in the mirror while assessing their outfits, employees flex on their peers in meetings, entrepreneurs complain about 30 under 30 lists while wishing to be on them, reporters check the Techmeme leaderboards; life is nothing if not a nested series of status contests.
The motivations of folks on my Facebook feed now makes a lot more sense.