Tuesday, March 30, 2010

The "New Sincerity"

Misty Harris of Canwest News Service: "After decades of sarcasm as a second language, it seems almost heretical, but social scientists, happiness researchers and cultural observers alike say all signs point to a movement toward sincerity."

"We all really want to talk about optimism right now," says Neil Pasricha, author of The Book of Awesome. "There's so much in life to be happy about. And if we don't recognize that, the weight of the world becomes really suffocating really quickly."

Economic malaise is surely a partial driver. Because humans are hardwired to make themselves feel good, experts say it makes sense, biologically, that we'd double our efforts in tough times.

A recent study of some 7,500 newspaper articles finds bad news doesn't really travel fast; readers instead tend to email stories that uplift and amaze. In a recent half-year study of the New York Times' most-emailed articles, University of Pennsylvania researcher Jonah Berger found the more awe-inspiring a story, the greater its likelihood of being passed along.

"The data suggests people don't share things just to entertain or for utility," says Berger. "They do it to emotionally bond."

Thanks to
Jay Bedford, PD at Cape Breton's Eagle 103.5 for turning me onto this thought-provoking research article.


Daniel Anstandig said...

There may be a recession, but today's teens are entering the workforce optimistic that they will eventually have their ideal job. In fact, according to the 2010 Junior Achievement/ING Kids and Careers Survey, 90% of teens believe that an ideal job awaits them in the future. Furthermore, they say that they would settle for a less-than-ideal job if they could have a positive impact on society, earn money, or find empowerment to make decisions.

Crash said...

Found this post through your LinkedIn updates. Interesting POV. Most of my personal FWD email stories lean toward sarcasm and crude humor. Course, I'm looking at 50 in a few months (not jail time, birthday). I guess I need new friends.

Dan Baker said...

Sarcasm has that seed of truth and awareness that makes it what it is......Ignorance is bliss....As far as sincerity, I prefer the truth side of things...

Dave Newton said...

As long as radio people assume human on-air behavior, like music, is just another ratings-meter button, and format it, snark will rule those stations that seek the 18-34 male rock-n-roll demo, along with their warped and narrow view of what all younger people are like. Life is different. Moods, sarcastic and sincere, are all out there, mostly in balance. People who are only one thing -- whether exuding syrupy optimism or seething with cynicism -- don't make authentic friends. Imagine a radio station with real people, as opposed to hyperthyroid, stand-up-comic, buzz-inducing readers. That would be something. Gee. I sound snarky. Don't worry, it's just a passing mood.