Echo and Narcissus – so it was a myth after all

The Greek myth of Narcissus runs deep in our society’s moral fibre and the lessons it teaches are far-reaching. Self-love can actually kill you, or loving someone else to the extreme, for that matter. But how has social media snubbed this ancient learning in the 20th century?

Another day, another like

Attention is power according to actor James Franco and he sure knows how to get it. Attracting an audience when we as a social media consumer has so much choice is what leads to the rise and fall of digital celebrities. In fact, exhibitionism and self-promotion has never been more celebrated in society. The only thing that separates us from these celebrities is that they are actually successful.

Preaching the gospel of Self – narcissism and social media

Social media has become the default for self-promotion. Never has it been so easy for individuals to rise from relative obscurity to Internet fame through clever use of online platforms like Luke Harding who went out for a beer in the UK and woke up in Paris tweeting his misadventures. If you are already a well-known celebrity this kind of instant gratification through voyeurism is utterly irresistible for the average social media user. Thus we have become both the audience and creator of this cultural phenomenon.

Vanilla Ice Bucket baby

Motor neuron disease (or Lou Gehrig’s disease) and social media really hit it off. In fact, the ice bucket challenge was already doing its rounds on social media when the ALS foundation launched its campaign. Amazingly the foundation has generated $100 Million which equals to 3500% the amount in the previous year of fundraising.

In this is the great recipe for getting people to spread your message on social media:

  • Make them look good by donating their money to a charity
  • Tap into current social media memes and trends like the ice bucket phenomenon
  • Get people to pass if forward – “you have 24 hours” – so that your idea keeps spreading

The most curious aspect of this whole idea is that this seemingly kind deed is wrapped in such narcissistic motivation making it utterly irresistible.

Maybe the secret to get our consumers to do what we want is finding out what drives them and then give them an opportunity to look good at doing it.

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