With the much-ballyhooed social media making “followers” of us all
(I am of course referring to Facebook and Twitter and other similar entities), I am reminded of one of my favorite short stories; Italo Calvino’s “The Man Who Shouted Teresa.”
In this story, a man was seen shouting the name “Teresa!” several times and later on someone joined him and helped him shout. Eventually, more and more passers-by were curious as to why he couldn’t be heard by the girl he calls Teresa that they all helped him shout very loud. Last count was probably around 20 people helping him shout. Until someone asked, and I quote:
“But are you sure she is home?”
“No,” I said.
“That is bad,” another said. “Forgotten your key, have you?”
“Actually,” I said, “I have my key.”
So, they asked, “why don’t you go on up?”
“I don’t live here,” I answered. “I live on the other side of town.”
“Well, then, excuse my curiosity,” the one with the freckled voice asked, “but who lives here?”
“I really wouldn’t know,” I said.
People were a bit upset about this.
“So, could you please explain,” somebody with a very toothy voice asked, “why you are down here calling out Teresa.”
“As far as I am concerned,” I said, “we can call out another name, or try somewhere else if you like.”
The others were a bit annoyed.
“I hope you were not playing a trick on us,” the freckled one asked suspiciously.
“What,” I said, resentfully, and I turned to the others for confirmation of my good faith. The others said nothing.
There was a moment of embarrassment.
“Look,” someone said good-naturedly, “why don’t we call Teresa one more time, then we go home.”
So we did it one more time. “One two three Teresa!” but it did not come out very well.
Then people headed off for home, some one way, some another.
The moral of the story is, we have the tendency to just blindly do what others are doing because everybody else is doing it. Without thinking, we follow as if we are in a trance. In the end, we could realize that what we did was actually stupid or we could just pretend that we didn’t do anything stupid at all.
Such is the fate of a blind follower; but, this also makes us realize that such is the strength and power of people in great numbers. Who’s to say it’s stupid when everybody else is doing it in the first place?
Social Proof In Social Media.
How Truly Important Is It?
In my next post, I will talk some more about social proof and its great influence in social media. Share your thoughts by leaving a comment below. If you enjoyed this post, don’t forget to share, retweet, or bookmark! Thank you!
To Your Success,