Digital body language: do you know what you're really saying

July 19, 2019

This week, a friend posed a question to me about body language in the workplace. This led me to think about digital body language or the way we may be nonverbally communicating on digital and social media channels. 

 

 

Some experts analyze digital body language by paying attention to clicks, traffic, and time spent on a specific website. One particular definition of digital body language describes it as, "a combination of all the digital gestures and micro-signals made by customers, including mouse moves, scrolls and taps - ideal for drawing patterns and anomalies to understand behaviour and mindset."

 

While these things might be reliable indicators of digital body language, I have some other ideas. 

 

When scrolling through LinkedIn the other day, I happened to notice an article which one of my connections liked. Note: they didn't comment on anything, they simply liked it -- a nonverbal cue. The article itself was a bit jarring and politically-extreme in its content, and yet here the person was "liking" it. 

 

Without saying a word, this connection told me who they are and what they believe in. As algorithms on social networks continue to be refined, we'll probably see more and more content that our networks, friends, and family "like." 

 

 

 

What are the implications of this?

 

It's important to be aware of anything you might (and even without your knowledge) be liking or endorsing. Some people will add to their bio "RT does not equal endorsement." But is this enough? Mindlessly scrolling and clicking posts that you find interesting might give away more of your personal beliefs than you necessarily want to be public.

 

On the other hand, mindFUL social media scrolling is an interesting concept to consider -- intentionally interacting with accounts, articles or profiles that convey how you want to be seen.

 

 

 

So much of our social media activity can speak volumes about who we are and what we believe in, even at the most subconscious level. And people are paying attention to it.

 

Because of the way algorithms work, your network is likely to see what you are interested in. Likewise, because of what or who you interact with, you are going to get fed ads for products, services or -- heaven help us all -- political standpoints.

 

Perhaps it's best to take a step back and reconsider all of the accounts you like, follow, love or show nonverbal reactions to. You might realize that your digital body language has been tattling on you this whole time.

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