When I was at SXSW Interactive recently, I twittered as much coverage as I could from each session. Highlights, insightful quotes, questions for the general audience and the back-channel to respond to: it all went on Twitter, and it was very, very bountiful in number. Some of my friends opted not to see this barrage of tweets about a conference they couldn’t be at; others delighted in it, feeling like they got to go to SXSW from their desks at work.
Two specific Direct Messages—or DMs in common vernacular—were sent to me a couple days in. They were from friends thanking me for the constant updates on interesting things at SXSW, and expressing how much they enjoyed it.
Mind you, these are friends from the Internet: people I’ve met just about once in my life in person, but I still call them friends. If they were in town, I wouldn’t hesitate to organize a dinner meetup for them and make sure we all got to hang out some more. In any case, their gratitude had a profound impact on me and it spurred me on to try and keep my momentum going as much as possible. It also encouraged me to focus more on tweeting useful things, even where I’d previously presume everyone already knows them.
Later on I noticed that I wasn’t just making them happier: I was making myself happier by adding more value, and this is where I realized that value comes in many forms. Gratitude, all by itself, is value; the feeling of doing something that is appreciated, is value.
The Thank You culture breeds appreciation, which breeds value. The more valuable we feel our efforts are—valuable in multiple ways—the more eager we get to create even more value. Then the added value may beget more gratitude, and for businesses this often also means customers.
In today’s increasingly social Internet space, value begets more value.