So is the British Chancellor your darling or do you feel ignored by him today? The UK budget this afternoon provided the usual flim flam. Predictions of growth, which won’t materialise, departmental cuts which they cannot possibly make and a hocus pocus collection of handing stuff out with one hand while taking it back in with the other. Whether you are a rich banker, or a poor single parent struggling to make ends meet, this budget probably makes you seethe with anger because you feel ignored; everything in it seemed to be for somebody else.
The chances are that the budget and all the political in-fighting it breeds will make us ordinary folks feel let down. We’ll feel somewhat ignored and, as a result, we’ll get yet more depressed about our personal economic situation. Being ignored is one of the most frustrating and annoying things that face us. Have you ever walked into a shop, taken something up to the checkout, only to find no-one is there to serve you? Do you like that situation?
Or have you been on the phone to some “customer service” department only to be put “on hold”, listening to an electronic version of “Greensleeves” for what seems like hours? Perhaps you have sat in a restaurant doing more waiting to be served than there are waiters serving? It’s all so annoying isn’t it?
Well, new research from the University of Kent shows that when we are ignored online, our blood also gets boiled. In a study of game playing online some people were deliberately ignored. Within moments these people became upset, had a lowered sense of belonging and – in some instances – even felt their self-esteem was under attack. It is yet a further reminder that paying attention to people is important in helping them feel positive about themselves – and about you.
What this means on your website is never ignoring comments on your blog, for instance. Or making sure that you always respond to questions or comments on the likes of Twitter or Facebook. In other words, if someone has connected with you, then pay them the courtesy of not neglecting them. If you ignore them, you make them feel negative about themselves. And that has a knock-on effect on how they think about you and your business.
This is particularly important in the online social world it seems. The psychologists from Kent suggest that if adults are ignored online, they will easily find alternative relationships to help their self-esteem. That means if you ignore people in your social network, they will ignore you too; having all those friends on Facebook may be nothing more than a badge – in reality many of them could dislike you because you ignore them, making them feel bad about themselves.
Just as in the real world, if you want to truly be connected to your website visitors and your social network, you need to pay attention to them.
Graham Jones is an Internet Psychologist who studies the way people use the online world, in particular how people engage with businesses. He uses this knowledge to help companies improve their online connections to their customers and potential customers and offers consultancy, workshops, masterclasses and webinars. He also speaks regularly at conferences and business events. Graham is an award-winning writer and the author of 32 books, several of which are about various aspects of the Internet. For more information connect with me on Google+