Positive Reinforcement

Posted by Bill Cammack On January - 26 - 2013

So yesterday, on this Facebook group, this dude accused me of having a bunch of negative stuff to say.

Of course, my first reaction was “This dude is buggin’, and doesn’t know what the **** he’s talking about.”

The vast majority of my interaction with people is positive, being that I don’t get kicks out of being negative towards people. I really don’t care about them that much that I would get a thrill from dissing them.

Being negative towards someone doesn’t elevate my self-esteem one iota. Who cares? \o/

However.. When I began to type as much, in response to this accusation, I wondered how his impression of my interactions could be so skewed (read: ******-up).

Likes and Dislikes

So, I’m thinking about this, and I’m like “I probably have 10 positive interactions for every 1 negative reaction, and every negative reaction is warranted, because someone’s ******* WRONG, and I need to point that out to them and force them to publicly defend their position.

If someone says “The sky is red” and the sky is actually blue, I’m going to say “What makes you think the sky is red? What’s your basis for saying that?”. If they can convince me that the sky is red, I’ll admit that, learn something, and move forward. If they can’t convince me, which is usually the case, then Justice Was Served!! :D

So I’m wondering why this dude grossly misinterpreted my contributions to the group, and I start thinking about the system that we use to interact with each other…

Being that a lot of people on the internet bitch and moan about negative commentary about something they wrote, Facebook only has “Likes”, and does not have “Dislikes”.. In other words, you can give something a “thumbs up”, but you can’t give anything a “thumbs down”, because people would cry and feel sad about their lives.

I never thought about this until today, until this incident, but when I want to give someone positive reinforcement, I click “like” on something they posted… This means that the person that posted it realizes that I gave them a “thumbs up”, *BUT* other people may not be paying attention to how many people “like” something, and who they are.

Especially if you mostly use Facebook by a smartphone app, you might not be aware of how often certain people offer other people positive reinforcement.

On the other hand (OTOH).. Being that there IS NO “Dislike”, anytime I have a problem with something someone said, I have to type it. o_O

So, to the casual observer, it appears that I say a lot of negative things, and not so many positive things.

This is because I don’t HAVE TO *SAY* anything positive, because I can click “like”.

Truth & Consequences

I found this great and funny and interesting, because with all the analysis I’ve done of Facebook and other social media sites and apps, I never considered the lopsided interaction that disallowing “dislikes” creates.

The solution to this would be deliberately typing something on someone’s content, even though it’s unnecessary after clicking “like”.

Since this happened to The Kid, I’m *SURE* it’s happening to many other people that don’t understand how they come off via social media.

For example.. I know several people that every time they post something, they’re bitchin’ about something that didn’t work out for them, or they feel poorly, physically or emotionally, or they want/need something they don’t have, blah blah blah bitch bitch moan moan cry cry blah blah blah.

It probably seems to them as if their social media presence is balanced, but it isn’t. They are constantly and consistently DOWNERS, and nobody’s actually interested in that.

It would be in those people’s interests to take a look at their Facebook timeline and see how often they’re complaining about something, as opposed to how often they have something positive to say about their lives or someone else’s life.

Unfortunately, we will never have Like/Dislike parity on Facebook.

Like Jack Nicholson said.. “You can’t *HANDLE* the truth! :(”

Moving forward, I’m going to pay attention to how this tilts the playing field, and make sure that I offer an amount of positive text that will somewhat offset the amount of negative text I have to type in order to get people to attempt to explain & defend positions I don’t believe are true and that are misleading our viewing public.

Online & IRL

This concept is also useful IRL (In Real Life).

Let’s say you know a chick that generally doesn’t know how to dress. billcammack.com/2008/06/26/how-to-dress-your-girlfriend/

What you want to do is compliment her whenever she gets it right. :)

If all you do is inform her when she looks wack, she receives more negative reinforcement from you than positive.

You can’t assume that the fact that you didn’t tell her she should look better than she currently does counts as POSITIVITY! :D haha That’s more Neutral than anything.

So you don’t want to give her a bunch of negative and then a bunch of neutral. Make sure you even it out, positive vs. negative… Assuming she’s learning how to dress, from your advice, and she’s started to look good on her own.

Same thing if you’re a boss, and you have employees. Make sure they understand that you appreciate when they do the right thing on their own, as opposed to your having to tell them and guide them to propriety. Your “not complaining” shouldn’t be their ‘reward’ for improving themselves.

Same thing if you have a girlfriend that needs to spend [much] more time in the gym… You want to use positive reinforcement.

Don’t just go around the house snatching and hiding her Burger King coupons.. Let her know that you noticed her hard work and that she dropped a couple of pounds in the right places and that she’s en route to gaining more cuddle-time with you. :)

Anyway… Focus.. Focus on what people might be receiving from your communications, regardless of what you feel like you’re giving them.

Sometimes, the people themselves don’t get it. Sometimes, it’s the system that prevents them from getting it (not recognizing that you click “like” 100 times for every 1 time you type something negative/confrontational).

Make sure people’s experience of you isn’t “When something’s wrong, I hear about it, and when everything’s right, I don’t hear anything at all! :/”

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2 Responses to “Positive Reinforcement”

  1. Edie says:

    This also excellent parenting advice Bill. :D

    • Bill Cammack says:

      I know, Right, Edie? :D haha Make sure your kids know that when they do right, it’s *GOOD*, not just “ok”.

      You know you’re gonna let ‘em have it when they do wrong, so try to be as dynamic as you can with your positivity as well. :)

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