The Power of the Poke

Back in college, Facebook was still relatively new on the world stage and folks were still discovering how they could use it the best way possible.  Well, there were a chunk of a that were obsessed with the poke functionality where you could poke someone else.  We had these massive poking wars.

Well, the other day,  I was in Facebook and I got thinking about poking.   While the task may seem inane at first, there is actually something really cool about it.  What you’re saying when you poke someone is “Hey, I’m thinking about you right now and I wanted  you to know about it.”

In Facebook, you see this type of interaction in other ways.  You can “like” something that someone has posted to their Wall.  You can comment on something that somone has posted.  You can post something on someone else’s wall.

When you do one of these things to a person, you’re telling them that you’re thinking about them and that you read their stuff.  They’re special to you.  They’re worth your attention.  You want to stay connected with them.

No one likes the feeling when they post something or share something that they’re posting it into a vacuum and no one will actually read it.  When you get that feedback or that interaction, it makes you feel special because someone to that time out of their day just for you.  It makes you want to share more.

These small interactions… these small touches help you maintain your social capital with your relationships. When you have social capital with someone, if you don’t stay in touch with them, the social capital… the desire to want to go of your way to help that person starts to have a shelf life.  It’s too easy for things to become “out of sight… out of mind.”

When you have a relationship that’s built on trust,  it’s important to do those small things which show the person that you continue to care about them and take interest in them.

It’s not all on Faceebook either.  If you read someone’s blog, take 2 seconds and write a comment like “cool post.” If you travel a lot, pick up a gift from that country for a friend of yours.

How have you been blessed by a small touch, interaction, or poke?

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6 thoughts on “The Power of the Poke

  1. @asialiu

    I have to admit my first thought when I read your headline was: http://www.aloha-hawaii.com/dining/poke/ Mmm I’m really craving some kimchee poke ;)

    I think the poke & like are great tools, but also have some mixed feelings about them. Poke was a really fun idea when it first came out and the subsequent ‘throw-a-sheep at’ made it an all-out war. Now, I find the poking interaction to mimic a real-life poke too much, i.e. it’s kinda fun but also on that fine line of weird and annoying. Would you say more newbies use poke now than the veteran FBrs?

    As for the ‘like’ feature, it is a genius way to quickly induce interactivity, but I think it also gives an easy cop-out for a more expressive comment. It easily feeds our interactive laziness, but perhaps at the same time allows us to effectively put our stamp on the flurry of content feeds before they pass us by.

    What I have found fun though is when people ‘like’ their own comments, which is more unexpected.

    Still, I think all the interactions are great; like you said, the feedback that tells you that someone stopped for a moment and thought about what you’ve shared and cared to acknowledge it. This can be really exciting when it’s someone that you never expected it from, friend or stranger–that mystery and excitement is something that sites like Twitter build on because it’s sharing & liking on a larger collective scale usually beyond your known social network.

    btw, sorry to have hogged up this comments area. i’ve started blogging in your blog. is this a comment faux pas? hahaha oops;)

  2. Debbie Weil

    Social capital… spot on. That’s exactly what it is. Now if we could just figure out where that goes on the balance sheet in the assets column. :)

  3. rileypa

    I’ve definitely learned the power of the “poke” from you as you are incredible at keeping in touch and making others feel that they are important by commenting on their stuff. By doing this, it definitely draws others to you, and I can see what you’re so good at your job…

  4. Seth Nenstiel

    Interesting way of putting it. I really wish platforms like Facebook had some better form of archiving so that when you do “poke” someone about a bit of information they posted it would resonate longer or be capable of being found again.

    I want to relate social capital to decay of radioactive materials.

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