Can a Hug really be virtual?

Posted by PartyWeDo on Monday, January 4, 2010

hugging_kittens1If you have learned anything from our blog, it is that we believe in REAL gifts,  and we see virtual-images only as a tool to facilitate real gift giving among family and friends.

This idea is rooted in the belief that the internet is a tool that runs without emotion. It is hardware and software, not warmth and compassion. The human element must be combined with these tools in order to create something that is of real value.

A virtual hug is a cheap disappointment, and we want to put human warmth into these social networks that are now connecting us. We want real hugs by real people, and we want REAL gifts not just virtual fluff…

This virtual mumbo jumbo started when developers decided that applications on Facebook and other networks should offer everything for free. They started allowing free virtual hugs and gifts as a replacement for the real thing. We don’t believe that this free stuff is worth a dime, and many are beginning to join our thinking.

Amber Nasland blogs at Altitude, and she added to the “free” discussion in a recent post when she said: “But just because free is everywhere doesn’t mean that free is a given. Nor does it mean that free is always better. (Though I will say I’m all about Free Hug )”

If you did not take the time to watch the video that she posted (I share it again here) then you may have thought that Amber was promoting “virtual-hugging”. But the “Free Hugs” displayed in this short clip involve real people embracing; there is not one virtual hug in the lot!

These real hugs required some investment in resources and emotion, by real people. They were “purchased” by personal effort, not by a quick click of a mouse. Likewise, real gifts speak warmth, thought and love. These can not be replaced by sending someone a silly virtual flower in Facebook…

Real hugs, even among strangers, leave a good impression and are appreciated more deeply because they are created by a human action.

Mitch Joel discussed the problem with not making a personal investment in things during a discussion he titled, The Problem with Free: “When you pay for something, you appreciate it more than when you get it for free”. Then he quoted motivational speaker Mike Lipkin’s favorite onstage line: “I would do this for free, but I am going to make you pay for it so that you appreciate what you’re getting.”

We again state that the only way that supportive gift giving on Facebook works is if a user can buy a REAL gift and then use the social tools to make the gift presentation memorable and engaging.

It is our believe that a virtual party can facilitate this process in a way that will make giving memorable and provide important feedback. It is this tradition of joining together in one purpose that has made real gift giving such a valuable part of personal support.

Freely giving of ones substance results in the same warmth and feeling as a real hug…

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