Ephemerality, Social Media, and Showing Up

It’s easier to show up when it’s off the record. When it’s just you talking to a friend or chatting over the fence with your neighbour. Most of our conversations aren’t recorded and stored forever (well, at least we don’t think they are), and our communication style reflects that.

If we think we’re being recorded, we act accordingly. Our posture shifts. We start to edit ourselves.

Evan Spiegel, the founder of Snapchat (one of the few social platforms built on ephemerality), gave a great interview on this. He talks about creating a social network where it doesn’t feel like we’re performing, because when we think we’re on stage we actually narrow the range of emotion that we communicate with.

Something to think about for those of us who lead online communities. How does the tech you use modify your audience’s behaviour? How does it modify yours? How does this impact the values and interests of the collective?

Metrics direct behaviour. If you remove the metrics of success that don’t serve your mission (such as likes or views) perhaps people would show up more like you want them to—more like themselves.