Emotionally charged social engagement?

The following is an email sent to Linda N. Edelstein, Ph.D. regarding her book The Writers Guide to Character Traits

It suddenly occurred to me whilst flicking through it, that social media engagement is linked to our emotional attachment. In order to generate more engagement exploring emotional extremes can aid our content creation direction… read on…


Hi Linda,

I’m just leafing through your book right now and wanted to say that I’m using it to help people develop more engaging content for online conversation using social media.

Eg: a 140 character twitter message, won’t get retweeted by others unless it triggers an emotion in them.

Eg: a blog post needs to provide value, but for people to engage with it and react in the comments, it should trigger a positive or negative emotion leading to a reply of enthusiastic praise or desire for action against an injustice.

Any content which doesn’t impact on either end of the emotional scale, won’t inspire people to engage with their social media endeavors, projects, business, events etc.

Sooo… wanted to ask: the book (second chapter) offer normal > extreme examples of adult personality traits and, by the very nature of your work, deals with negative issues and over coming them.

For my work, I want to explore the reverse: positive personality traits… normal & extreme. I could try and ‘reverse engineer’ the dialogue you provide in the book, but alas, I’ll probably get the messages wrong and could potentially make the entire internet go into an infinite loop leading to a cosmic black hole… and we would want that to happen on a Wednesday would we? 🙂

I am however, only on Chapter 2 of your book, so forgive me if you have covered positivity in later chapters. I’m just too keen to skip ahead and too slow a reader to get further through the pages quick enough.

Are you aware of any resources, books, websites, contacts that could help me out?

Look forward to hearing from you (if you have time)

All the best – Mark

Bath, UK


Her reply below….

Hi Mark,

I find your work fascinating. I don’t know if I can be very helpful but here are my thoughts. There are charts of all the emotions – therapists use them to help people identify what they are feeling. Maybe that would help. You could pick out the emotions that you want to target. Try googling “emotion vocabulary chart” and see what you think. I’m not sure how to assess whether or not you have reached that emotional intensity that would make people respond.

I agree (not about blogging or tweeting) that people respond to words or pictures that evoke high emotion, especially anger, injustice, unfairness. I don’t know how they react to joy or delight as happy emotions – maybe they would pass the post along. I think they also respond to words or posts that convey “I understand you” and will write their agreement. It ispowerful when readers resonate with the post. Middle of the road comments that are friendly will get a smile but not much else.

Hope this is totally off target,

regards, Linda


So, I don’t really have a conclusion, yet. All I know is that emotions trigger action and the social media fuel is engagement. Which doesn’t happen unless some emotional buttons & memories are pressed.

hmm… maybe I should research memory triggers?

More news as I have it.


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