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Andy's nice but Brian isn't
2011-09-02: Our survival depends on assumptions. Shortcuts. Generalisations. We make snap judgments based on general ideas when we meet new people, otherwise we could get robbed, taken for a ride, or miss an opportunity.
I've just spent maybe 20 or 30 hours over maybe a couple of months fixing the computer of someone I didn't know.
We've orbited each other, though, over the years. He's a musician and I'm a musician. We've played the same festivals.
I believe he's played and supported a lot of charities and good causes in his lifetime. So I felt good things towards him, despite us never having met.
His friend contacted me and asked if I knew anyone who could help him speed up his computer. I volunteered because I wanted to get to know this chap.
It turns out his setup was the same as that of a friend of mine, who also wanted computer help. I say 'no' to him, because I perceive him as being tight, not wanting to spend money. Him having a hooky copy of XP is because (I assume) he's tight. Him using me for free, that's tight. The musician chap .. that was probably just ignorance.
OK, now move that into social media.
I perceive that the musician chap has poured good into the world. I wanted to get to know him, and to help him now he needed something back.
They say of social media that you have to invest in the favour bank before you can withdraw anything.
I think even that is too analytical.
You have to genuinely give. OK, you don't give away everything, but if you help, people will remember you.
In an attention economy, that's important.
Incidentally, at the same festival I mentioned, the band allocated our dressing room before us left it in a complete state. So much so we felt we couldn't enter because we would have had to rudely clear their things away. Guess how we feel about them. Equity theory applies. Think I'm going to ever help them? Not a chance.
Social media isn't a megaphone. It's a place full of people, and sometimes you can help someone. Do it. It'll make for a beautiful world.

By John Allsopp
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