Personality and personal identity are in some ways like co-ordinates on the street map drawn by our intersecting relationships. We know who we are and we define what we are by references to the people we love and reasons for loving them. ~Gregory David Roberts, author of Shantaram
Many human beings have worked over the last three-four years building maps of acquaintances and thoughts. Personal social networks are maps of heart sensation and the timelines we now study are chronologies of feeling. A timeline in Facebook is a history of where and when an individual has hooked his or her most sacred desires and closely held fears to specific events, memes and relationships. Every relationship is a vessel, carrying feeling, intention and action to some collectively agreed-upon destination. Social networks offer up several hundred potential journeys of this nature in any given hour.
A common form that the vessel of relationship takes in social networks is conversation. The conversations an individual chooses in comment threads, on Skype, or via texting, emails and chats, are surface signals of underlying realities. And the translation of these signals for personal gain is the number one priority of most human beings. Every one of these signals or actions via personal digital communication is like a fisherman throwing out a line for some form of happiness or connection. And these “trawlings” are indicators of the lightning-fast world of word of mouth, where human beings are connecting with one another for some form of gain – whether this is gain of the heart or the wallet. Big brands want to know the Five W’s of personal conversation (and resulting gains) in digital and mobile networks — the is THE hot content for researchers. And this is also why emails, chats, text messages and other personal threads are of great interest to research organizations like Facebook and Google.
Discovery of bliss as a means of avoiding pain is a primary motivator for many individuals. The mythologist Joseph Campbell has captured the essence of this psychological phenomenon when he writes, “Follow your bliss. If you do follow your bliss, you put yourself on a kind of track that has been there all the while waiting for you, and the life you ought to be living is the one you are living. When you can see that, you begin to meet people who are in the field of your bliss, and they open the doors to you. I say, follow your bliss and don’t be afraid, and doors will open where you didn’t know they were going to be. If you follow your bliss, doors will open for you that wouldn’t have opened for anyone else.” You have a chronology of bliss-pursuit and pain-fleeing in your Inbox and Facebook timeline…right now.
When I log in to Facebook and see the options of who is available now for a chat, I associate these faces with a story and a feeling. And I make a choice to enter a story or not based upon the feeling within. In fact, Facebook technology serves up ads to me based upon my heart-choices on any given day. Daniel Goleman, author of Emotional Intelligence, writes, “The emotional brain responds to an event more quickly than the thinking brain.” Gone are the days where the mysteries of fluctuating markets confounded scientists and researchers. We know for certain now that individual choices are made based upon fluctuating feelings. And the densest clouds of conversation in social networks collect around phenomena common to the heart of every individual: pain and desire.
Try searching your maps of acquaintances today as a clue to your identity and your journey. Look at your timeline closely to see how you journeyed and associate this with a history of feeling. You created a map of heart sensation and you own a chronology of your own feelings. Study where you hooked your most sacred desires and closely held fears to specific events, memes and relationships. Take note of the relationships that carried you to destinations of happiness. Now create a spreadsheet of several hundred potential journeys to happiness that currently exist…right now in front you today.