The Christmas Light Corollary
With two weeks to Christmas, the countdown has begun. Lamp posts are decorated, trees can be seen through windows at night and houses lined with colorful lights can make driving through neighborhoods seem magical.
Recently, Seth Godin made an interesting comparison between the (non)economics of Christmas lights and the non-economic contribution happening online. Godin says the following is true of Christmas decorations and online interaction – and I tend to agree:
“People like the way it feels to live in a community filled with decorated houses. They enjoy the drive or the walk through town, seeing the lights, and they want to be part of it, want to contribute and want to be noticed too.”
No one gets paid to put up Christmas lights and no one gets paid to contribute online. Both forms of interaction happen because someone wants to participate. Godin also says, contrary to the broken windows theory, “the Christmas Light corollary might be that in towns (or online communities) where there’s a higher rate of profit-free community contribution, happiness and productivity go up as well.”
I can honestly say that seeing Christmas lights, trees and decorations genuinely makes me happier. And knowing I have a voice amongst millions of other voices makes me happy, too.
What are your thoughts on Godin’s comparison?