One of the films we watched this summer for Science Technology and Society (STS) was a documentary from the BBC Mammals: The Social Climbers. It is the second to the last film before the finale and it is interesting. The Social Climbers, is an interesting film because – First, it reminded me of studies of Robin Dunbar on social grooming and gossip and Second it reminded how all of our interaction online is social grooming.
Being a member of Monkey and Ape group, one of our keys to success has been social grooming. It has allowed us to (i) communicate and create strong bonds with each other against predators and enemies-within.(ii) Not to mention that social grooming has the advantage of releasing endorphins that make us happy.
Social Grooming occurs at different levels for different species. At its most basic it is at intimate level – the physical action and touching. There are Instances when sounds can be used to signal alarm, challenge and courting among monkeys and apes. Among humans we have went a step further and beyond: First we can converse with each other and Second we can talk to one another through time and space through writing and as of late using the Internet.
In terms of talking with one another on-line and off-line have moved further away from how Monkey and Apes do it? Has our mastery of language and the use technologies – the written word, printing and the Internet – allow us to progress further?
And are the reasons we are using social grooming/conversation/social different from our simian cousins? Why do we post what we post online? What are the reasons for those tweets, those posts, those selfies and those braggies ?
Why do we post online?
Do we post and update our status because of any or all of the following?
First, Do we post to increase our number of friends and/or increase our broadcast network?
Second, Do we post to seek advice or discuss things?
Third, Do we post to punish and neutralise those who fail to abide by our formal and informal agreements?
Fourth, Do we post to advertise ourselves?
Fifth, Do we post to deceive others: To help them think what we want them to think for our personal benefit?
Have we been guilty of one or all of these reasons?