Social Media and “The Social Animal”

by Robbie Schlosser · 18 comments

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Social Media and “The Social Animal” might seem unrelated, but let me tell you:  there’s a strong connection.

Published earlier this month, David Brooks’ “The Social Animalcould revolutionize how we use Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, blogs, and all the other social media.  I think it will.  More in a minute.

Robbie Schlosser likes "The Social Animal"The Social Animal“’s main point is to show that our subconscious mind is enormously influential over our behavior, much more than is our conscious mind.  I recommend you read this book, or at least read about it.

I find “The Social Animal” fascinating reading.  David Brooks is a wonderful writer and a witty, clear-thinking journalist.  In this book, he urges us to take a second look at how we think people make decisions.  After a broad survey of recent scientific literature, he suggests we’ve been overestimating the role reason plays and overlooking the profound role played by our subconscious.

Here’s David Brooks’ message in a nutshell.  He suggests that many of our society’s woes stem from the failures of rational strategies to address problems that arise from our complex subconscious needs.  Nationwide, most of our major personal and institutional policies seem to be based in rational thoughts, yet most of our major problems are not simple cause-and-effect situations.

Reason plays little role in many of our most important decisions — how to develop wisdom, how to select a friend, know right from wrong, or learn to “play nice”.  It’s especially true for our complex, innate need to connect with people and form relationships.

David Brooks is a careful reporter and perceptive analyst, but he’s not a scientist.  Nevertheless, he musters a staggering array of modern scientific research, especially in psychology and the neurosciences.  Brooks is careful to tell us that specialists in these fields will quibble with the details of his conclusions, but I believe he lays out the contours of this territory accurately.

He has written “We’re not rational animals, or laboring animals; we’re social animals. We emerge out of relationships and live to bond with each other and connect to larger ideas.”

The Social Animal“’s implications are numerous — in organizing education, practicing politics, conducting business, and managing relationships.  Especially in managing relationships.

Where have we heard something like this before?  Why, from all those people urging us to be “Social” with Social Media.  Be authentic, they say.  Honest, sincere, and helpful.  Be a reliable friend and colleague, and correspond faithfully.

I expect social media users will adopt these attitudes more and more, and as they do I expect their posts and responses will become more “feeling”, “caring”, and “personal”.  In this way, posts will appeal more strongly to those sentiments in the people who receive them.  Online correspondence will stick more, coming “from a person, to a person”, and social media posts will thereby become more effective.

Do you use social media — especially Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, or YouTube?  Do you blog? Do you focus on interacting with people and building relationships?



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Merlyn Sanchez

Thank you for such an insightful review! I’m going to get the book this week because it sounds fascinating.

I especially like how he describes the disconnect between our rational mind and our subconscious.

Rebecca Parre

Love this message and the keep it real message Robbie. Thanks for sharing and the book recommendation!


Thank goodness we coached with Ann Evanston is all I can say Robbie. Because of her I did learn early on to be “authentic” and personal on all the platforms I use. I feel that it is the reason my platform is growing and that I am finding more and more of my posts being shared on both FB and twitter. And I do note that I am more apt to interact with those that seem authentic and real to me!
PS. have always loved David Brooks editorials!

Alara Castell

Thanks for sharing your review Robbie. It’s great to know we can truly be authentic when on social media. It only feels natural. When I try to be someone I’m not it just doesn’t work for me. I’m now enjoying sharing on all the platforms.

Alara K. Castell
Your Sassy Spiritual Guide

Julie labes

I am a social media junkie but I am learning the correct way to use it now. I am always authentic in real life and online I truly believe in the “what you see is what you get” approach for everything I do.

Julie Labes,…The Fierce over 50 feels much younger point and click junkie loves to travel does not use a jogging stroller and before you ask this is NOT my granddaughter..Woman

Pat Zahn

Nice little review and connection to social media Robbie. We can only hope that more and more people are actually social on social media – thank goodness we are being trained by Ann Evanston!

Pat Zahn, Photo Solutions Superhero

Judy Stone-Goldman

This was a really interesting review. I’ve been reading something else lately that suggests that early hunter-gatherer tribes had much more socialization and social motivation than originally thought. Our social origins may go back farther than we think! And of course forward–linking it to social media is quite interesting.

Judy Stone-Goldman
The Reflective Writer
Balance, Boundaries and New Life Directions Through Writing

Donna McCord

Hi Robbie, I got an error message when trying to watch your video, so will try again later! but I enjoyed reading your commentary and I do like the movement within the social media arena toward building relationships, being authentic and open and caring for one another. In today’s world I think we don’t socialize as much as we did in the past — everyone is so busy and we sometimes don’t even get to know our neighbors. I think that is very sad and probably why the social media platforms are so popular. Personally, I wish we were able to go back to the neighbors talking over the fence rather than on Facebook, but I do appreciate having been able to meet all the wonderful people I have met through Ann’s blogger monday, SNCC and Warrior Preneur sites! That includes you!


Nice reminder Robbie. I do believe that social media is a critical component to building my brand and attracting my ideal clients. As Seth Godin put it: “How can you squander even one more day not taking advantage of the greatest shifts of your generation? How dare you settle for less when the world has made it so easy for you to be remarkable?”

I need to review strategy and engage again soon. Basically, rather than counting subscribers and followers, I focus instead on the experience I am seeking to create and what I want to achieve with a tribe of people who are passionate about my mission in the world and want to be a part of it.

Rachel Lavern
Personal Transformation, Enlightenment and Development Coach
“Live without limits because nothing is impossible to you.”

Fiona Stolze

Enjoyed reading your post and watching you in action again Robbie. I’m so glad I got on the social media bandwagon a few months ago and have hugely profited from it by learning to engage and be authentic. I’ve had the added benefit of course of being under Ann Evanston’s mentorship and so I avoided many of the blunders that others might make. It’s a fascinating subject.

Fiona Stolze
Inspired Art and Living

Louise Edington

Interesting book Robbie and interesting post. Well as your coach right now I like to think I’m all about the social in social media 😉 Thanks – I might add the book to my list.
Louise Edington
Finding YOUR Freedom

Laurie Hurley

I network with a hynotherapist that shared the same information about the sub-conscious mind with us at our last meeting. Very fascinating stuff, indeed. And, that is what Ann’s program is all about – being real, genuine and authentic!


The book and the concepts laid out by David Brooks sound fascinating. I will put it on my Kindle! Thanks for sharing via social media! See, we’re learning, evolving, and growing together!

Susan Berland

Yes, I use Social Media, primarily FB and twitter and my blog. I also use LinkedIn but not as much as I used to. Will probably get back to it as well and am still building my network there. I couldn’t agree more. Social Media is about being social. I’m always amazed at how many people think it’s about sales and try to push their products or services at you. I think it’s about developing relationships first. Sales may or may not come from that but I know for sure they will not come from my being a pushy sales person on social media. Thanks for an interesting post.

Susan Berland
A Picture’s Worth

Rachel Blaufeld

Hi Robbie – of course, I use lots of social media! That is where I was lucky enough to meet you! I love your post and video as usual, and now have another book to add to my long list of books that I want to enjoy. I do strongly believe the premise that we are social beings and want to connect in a real social way. Thanks, Rachel

Rita Brennan Freay

Great message and very interesting book…I will have to check it out! Yes, I use SoMe…mostly FB, blogging, and getting more involved on Linked in…and twitter! Its fun and I’m learning…how great is that. I’ve learned you have to be yourself…and as you say be honest, sincere and helpful. It goes a long way. Thanks for the good read…looking forward to it.

Rita Brennan Freay

Brandy Mychals

I haven’t read this book…but the subconscious mind is key in my business as this is the “place” from where people make their assumptions…I also love Jenn August’s work, she’s a business Hypnotherapist and focuses on “Removing your Blocks so your Business Rocks”. Interesting conection with social media 🙂
Brandy Mychals
Speaker, Author, Communications Coach
Creator of Split Second Perceptions

Darcie Newton

I love social media. I am fascinated by the relationships I’m building online with people I’ve never met in person but feel I know better than most of the parents at my daughter’s school, and I see them every week. I will be checking Amazon to see if this book is available for download. Thanks Robbie.

Darcie Newton
Discipline for profit, none for jammy zins or memorable necklaces.

p.s. I do blog, Robbie, as you know and I’m delighted by your blog and the breadth of information you provide week after week. Thanks for sharing your insights.

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