The concept of karma was first originated in India to describe a relationship of cause and effect; “the effects of all deeds are viewed as actively shaping past, present, and future experiences“. Hundreds of years later, the social media karma idea emerged heavily relying on the same traditional trend that goes: “Do onto others as you would do to yourself.”
In a vast virtual world where each of the online users aim to seek recognition, be known, be heard, and be “someone” who people desire to be associated with, karma seems to be a fine defining ground of online intentions! Karma comes across as having the power to add balance to online relationships and differentiate between spammers, heavy advertisers, blabbers, time-wasters and those individuals who are really looking forward to make a change, invite others into their world and make them a part of it while being a part of theirs as well.
In life, there is always give and take! Karma ensures, to some extent, that this kind of relationship exists and persists between the members of social media communities therefore, good karma can only be earned by dedicating free time to positive community activities such as:
- Submitting content that the community values
- Initiating and relating relationships with other community members
- Contributing to blogs of community members via comments, linking and guest posts
- Reading and voting for your friends’ content
- Adding meaningful insights to conversations within the community
- Asking for nothing in turn for your positive contributions
Amongst the famous social media sites that utilize karma, the following list comes to mind:
- Slashdot‘s comments and moderation system
- Reddit‘s social bookmarking activity counter
- Twitter’s follow Friday & retweets
- Plurk’s user activity
- Digg‘s thumbs up vs. bury
While reading “Social Media Karma: Be Proactive! you can easily see how valuable karma can be not only in bringing people together to share arts, culture, music and ideas, karma could also open windows of opportunity for businesses aiming to create long lasting relationships with potential clients as well: “Prior to now, business reputation could often be made through advertising and public relations slight-of-hand. But the world is becoming more and more transparent and, simultaneously, elephant-like. It sees more and forgets less. Karma is certainly not an invention of social media. But social media highlights how people react when healthy social reinforcement is in place.”
So how does karma work?
Well, basically, like everything else on the web, karma has certain calculations, an algorithm based on variable factors such as:
- Duration: The period of time the user has been a member of a certain network or community
- Contributions: The overall number of contributions he/she shared
- Activity: How active the user was
- Rankings: Positive/Negative rankings by other community members
- Rejection: Number of people who have blocked the user or his/her comments
- Communication: How active was the user in communicating with others
This all seems way too simple. But it never is!
Apart from the fact that trying to fulfill karma requirements consumes great amounts of time and effort, it doesn’t always work and it certainly won’t always pay off! There are always hidden rules, here and there, that will prevent you from reaching, as Plurk calls it: The Karma Nirvana! You may be following the social media commandments to the bone by empowering others and yet lack their support in return for any reason!
As I have noticed from my endless research about this topic, karma might be a reason why the phenomenon of blind voters came to play and why some people actually try to play around the system in one way or another to earn karma they are not worthy of!
“Karma ain’t that good!” And I must agree! For such a great, peaceful concept to be transformed, or worse yet mutated, into a discrete yet gruesome competition is just sad!
To conclude, allow me to ask you something: Is social media karma all what it’s blown out to be? Or is it just an evil plot to alter behavior and manipulatively condition online users? I urge you to think about it.
** Great thanks to Man With Dominos / Web link: The Middle Way for the image :)