Thursday, February 10, 2011

Zen And The Art Of Reciprocity

This whole business of follower maintenance has me thinking about the Art of Reciprocity. While waiting to get a haircut, I was reading an article on reciprocity, and it's application to business. Reciprocity is defined as responding to a positive action with another positive action. The Rule of Reciprocity states that when someone does something nice for us, we feel obligated to do something nice for them.

Reciprocity is a powerful concept, and is something that most of us learn without ever having to be explicitly taught it. The example used in the magazine article: your 10 year-old daughter is celebrating her birthday, and invites a child who she otherwise never plays with. The reason? "Because she invited me to her birthday party." Your 10 year-old understands reciprocity.

Now, to the whole issue of followers. As many of you will already know, i'm a populist. I believe in democracy, that everyone has something to contribute, and I believe in the power of collective action. Being a populist, I'm all for the encouragement of discourse, disclosure and the open exchange of ideas. The more we are talking, explaining, discussing, the more likely we can arrive at better ideas.

One of the ways I can encourage people to share their ideas on old-school gaming is to click on that little follow button, when I come across their blog. Why? Because by declaring that I am following someone, I am saying "your voice deserves to be heard", "you have interesting things to say", and "you matter."

That small act is very likely to be reciprocated in ways far beyond my simple click. That person is likely to continue blogging, since they are getting positive feedback through the follower tool. Through their blogging, they may post something that I can use in my game. And all it cost me was a 3-second click on the follower button.

Cyclopeatron and Tao of DnD make some excellent observations about what it means to be or have followers. I guess my point here is that, while what they say has merit, I will continue to publicly follow new blogs, without shame and without expectations, because I prefer more dialogue, more voices and more democracy. And since I understand the Rule of Reciprocity, i'm confident that my small act of generosity will be reciprocated in the future. So pay it forward, folks.

21 comments:

The Happy Whisk said...

I've told you this before and I gotta say it again. You are a writer. Good post. And extra thanks from me, back when I started I think you were one of the first people to talk to me on my own blog.

Have a great day. Hope you have some sunshine and good food.

Carter Soles said...

Well said. I am a populist as well and am fairly liberal about following new blogs that interest me, for the same reasons you discuss.

Trey said...

I largely agree--following for me is more a "attaboy! keep it up!"

I do try to get around to commenting on the blogs I follow as I think that means a bit more, and am a bit dispirited by folks who become a follower of mine but have never commented--do ya like what I'm doing, or not?

Beedo said...

That post deservers a "Follow"!

ckutalik said...

This resonates with my own populist-leaning jumble of observations about blogging.

As someone who comes out of print media I had always assumed that the stress on social media in blogging was a load of bull, but the more I am involved in it the harder it is to deny how critical reciprocity is to it.

The rising tide can and does lift all boats.

Greg Christopher said...

Excellent post

John Williams said...

A sensible statement made with a well reasoned argument and a pleasant style. You must be Canadian.

A Paladin In Citadel said...

The Happy Whisk said...
I've told you this before and I gotta say it again. You are a writer. Good post. And extra thanks from me, back when I started I think you were one of the first people to talk to me on my own blog.

Thanks for the compliment, I don't think of myself as a writer, so I appreciate the positive feedback! Love your blog, makes me want to eat yummy food.

A Paladin In Citadel said...

Carter Soles said...
Well said. I am a populist as well and am fairly liberal about following new blogs that interest me, for the same reasons you discuss.

My biggest challenge is trying to keep up with all of the great blogs out there. I'm currently following about 325.

A Paladin In Citadel said...

Beedo said...
That post deservers a "Follow"!

Thanks! My post was really a call-to-arms for the more established blogs to check out the newer ones. Hopefully you will (ocassionally) find something I post useful and/or interesting!

A Paladin In Citadel said...

ckutalik said...
This resonates with my own populist-leaning jumble of observations about blogging.

As someone who comes out of print media I had always assumed that the stress on social media in blogging was a load of bull, but the more I am involved in it the harder it is to deny how critical reciprocity is to it.

The rising tide can and does lift all boats.


Print media was largely uni-directional (other than letters to the editor and such). The new two-way communication of on-line media is both boon and bane. It's hard to separate the wheat from the chafe.

A Paladin In Citadel said...

Greg Christopher said...
Excellent post

Thanks, much appreciated!

A Paladin In Citadel said...

John Williams said...
A sensible statement made with a well reasoned argument and a pleasant style. You must be Canadian.

I think you will find those to be universal traits of all Canadians!

:D

Aberrant Hive Mind said...

+1 to Followers

Trey said...

I agree with the sentiment. I tend to follow blogs as means of encouraging more. I also try to get aroud to commenting on blogs I follow as I think that means even more. Find a bit dispiriting myself the followers who have never once commented. Do they really like what I'm doing or not?

A Paladin In Citadel said...

Trey said...
I agree with the sentiment. I tend to follow blogs as means of encouraging more. I also try to get aroud to commenting on blogs I follow as I think that means even more. Find a bit dispiriting myself the followers who have never once commented. Do they really like what I'm doing or not?

I understand what you're saying, and Alexis' complaint that he can't learn from mimes. I love feedback, even when it's "I don't like when you blog about xyz topic".

A Paladin In Citadel said...

Aberrant Hive Mind said...
+1 to Followers

Glad to have you on-board!

Justin said...

Me too! A fellow populist, and a fellow follower! Great post.

A Paladin In Citadel said...

Justin said...
Me too! A fellow populist, and a fellow follower! Great post.

Welcome! Hopefully you find my blog useful!

Akrasia said...

I agree!

Unfortunately, I often find myself unable to keep up with all of the blogs that I follow because of the various pressures on my time (work, family, real life gaming, reading, etc.).

But by being a 'follower' I regularly am reminded of the blogs that I like, and can return to them even after a long hiatus. :)

A Paladin In Citadel said...

I'm following over 300 blogs. I'm constantly torn between reading other blogs and writing stuff on mine.