President Putin, as we should now call him (again), must have been day-dreaming. All those opposition campaigns, the massed ranks of the Russian social web against him, yet here he is, President again. All those reports of electoral fraud, well they must be codswallop – or whatever the Russian translation for that is. No doubt having been “exiled” to the lowly post of Prime Minister for the past four years, Mr Putin, sorry President Putin, must be in a dream. But clearly it is a dream he has had for quite a while. Has he ever day-dreamed about anything else, we wonder, other than being President of Russia?
We all dream. We all have fanciful ideas about what we might like to do, or be. As we sit at our computers we might glance at an image of something we find attractive, such as a huge house, a beautiful beach or a magnificent motor. As the pictures fly past we might momentarily day-dream about owning that car, being on that beach or entertaining Royalty in our country pile. Then, the phone rings and we are back to reality. Few of us, though, act on those dreams – except people like President Putin.
But you have to ask, how is he so popular? In spite of the massive opposition, millions of Russians still adore him. Popular politicians, for all their faults, are amazingly good with their social skills.
Now, new research into dementia suggests there is a link between dreamers and social skills. People with dementia tend to become rude, making inappropriate comments. They can be rather anti-social, bordering on aggressive. In short, people with dementia lose their ability to cope in a social environment. However, this new study suggests that the brain areas involved in the development of these problems is also responsible for day-dreaming. The circuitry in our brains which lets us day-dream is the same one which goes wrong in dementia. It appears that day-dreaming performs a vital function; it helps us see the world from the perspective of others and enables us to project ourselves onto their world. When the brain cannot do that any more, we can’t see what we are doing wrong in social terms because we have no way of understanding things from another point of view.
What this research suggests is that day-dreaming is a fundamental part of our ability to socialise. If you day-dream a lot, you are probably quite good socially therefore. Perhaps those good politicians who win all the votes often day-dream of the way the country will be run under their guidance. Perhaps they day-dream of getting fan-mail instead of complaints from constituents. But whatever it is, it does them good because it helps them to socialise, thereby helping them to win friends and votes.
But it also means that if you run an online business where activity on social networks is key, then day-dreaming could well help you perform better because you will be able to see the perspective of others more clearly. And that is a fundamental part of doing well with social media – seeing it from your customer’s viewpoint.
So, when your boss or business partner sees you staring out of the window with a blank look, don’t feel guilty. You are, in fact, helping the business succeed. And if they ask what were you day-dreaming about, perhaps you can tell them you want to be President of Russia.
- WATCH: Putin Cries As He Learns He Will Be Russian President Again (businessinsider.com)
- Kremlin Reaches Out to Protesters on Facebook (mashable.com)
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+