2 Apr 2009

Neuroscience, By the way

Author: will | Filed under: conference, FaceBook, irish blogers, linkedin, mixing, network, overheard, social network, thinking, twitter

My schedule looks full at the moment. It happens, a rush of meet-up (usually unrelated to each other), yet most of these meet-ups are to do with the Irish blogging community (and yes there is an Irish Blogging community). The one exception is an effort to get a maker community working in Dublin.

Tonight has the BTW, a Blogger – Twitter – Whatever meet-up in The Porterhouse Central put together by Jason Roe.

Why do people do this. Organize meetings? Meet complete strangers even if there is a common interest between you? Actually look forward to meeting these strangers.

Well I wonder if neuroscience and survival instinct has something to do with it. In 1994 Ronny Eriksson proposed that our autonomic nervous system, our physical basis for feeling anything is divided in to four functions. The 4 Fs; Fighting, Fleeing, Feeding and Fu… er… mating.

There is one problem with this basis. If those were the roots of our instincts, then humanity wouldn’t have survived past one generation. Why? Well mating might happen, but without something else then the subsequent children would simply be left on their own.

For a group to survive there has to be another F. Fostering. Friendship. Family. Call it what you will but a need to reach out and nurturer in some way.

A need to meet others, meet-up is part of our hard-wiring. Kindness is somewhere in there. We are more likely to offer assistance to our own. The kindness of strangers is rare (it happens). Social media has had a strange side effect. We “know” complete strangers. Or at least think we know.

  • “You can steel your heart against any kind of trouble, any kind of horror, but the simple act of kindness from a complete stranger will unstitch you” –The mother of Chris Abani who talks about humanity at TED.

We know the passions of strangers (or at least their thoughts) due to their blogs. Thanks to the likes of LinkedIn and FaceBook (and so many others) we know who their friends are. Thanks to Twitter we know that they are doing now.

Do we “know” them? Sort of. Pen pals have known each other for years. But social media makes, almost necessitates a community. And in a vacuum, it will create a community (yeah, I’m stretching here).

But that fifth F. Fostering/Family/Friendship. So much of our lives are founded on that principle. How come it is still left off that list?

See you at the BTW then?
Will Knott

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One Response to “Neuroscience, By the way”

  1. WillKnott.ie » Blog Archive » More BTW Says:

    [...] mentioned one of his BTW (Blogger, Tweet-up, Whatever) events before, and I think this s his [...]

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