Friday, January 2, 2009

How the brain works: Even blatantly insincere flattery makes us feel good...

sarah said...

I recently came accross your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I dont know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.

Dear Sarah (or Ruth, or Karen, or Elena),

I'm such a sucker for flattery (and feeling good about flattery is so automatic) -- that I feel good even though I know that you say that to all the girls (guys).

You say it because an advertiser pays you to say it. I won't say which one, because then the advertiser would have won my (few) readers' eyeballs.

How do I know you're an advertiser's lackey?

Sarah, you've had 773 profile views in two months, compared to my profile view of half that in 2 years. Yet you don't even have a blog! Why are people so curious about you? Because you post a lot -- your posts are devoid of content, but the average blogger with minimal traffic is still curious about this mysterious flatterer.

And every time you post, you leave a little url after your vague flattery.

I googled your cute empty statement and the exact same sentences, minus your cute typo, have appeared on hundreds of blogs from to

Now, I'm not one to keep someone from trying to make a living. But one of the wasteful side-effects of the competition that is part of a capitalism economic system is that human beings like you need to earn a living doing what you do: sneaking ads into places where they are not wanted.


Scott said...

I got the exact same comment on my blog as well. And I also fell for the flattery (until I noticed the link).

In a non-capitalist society, a whole series of useless professions would be eliminated in favor of people working to meet human need. As a society, we would all be much more productive and have much more time for the things we really want to do--reading books, creating art, doing science, even blogging!

HumanProject said...

Dear Scott,

Thanks for your comment. I've long thought there should be a blog where posters can keep adding to a long list of what problems in contemporary society would disappear if every business was a nonprofit.

What do you think of this idea? I'm writing a post about it inspired by your comment.

Anonymous said...

Great post - Of course this does take some research - I often probably use a tag line or similar phrase in my different postings, and have not created an 'open' blog - still trying to figure out this privacy thing and balance. So I might be lumped into the same catagory as 'the flatterer' except I usually only send people off to related stories and issues that catch my eye.

As usual it is that last step that makes the difference - keep up the good work of taking the extra step.

The idea of non-profit society is an interesting one to explore - but of course we have to look a little closer at what is capitalism compared to what USA has developed over the last few hundred years.