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The Relevance of Jeb Bush’s “Please Clap” and Why It Perfectly Sums Up Social Media

The handwriting has been on the wall for quite some time now. Jeb Bush will likely not be the 45th president of the United States.

The inevitable cloud of failure that hangs over the Bush campaign, despite having spent over $50 million, is only overshadowed by how, at every turn, he has managed to respond to challenges and charges of being a “low energy” candidate by being… we… low energy. At campaign rallies and town halls he speaks to a room full of unenthused, predominately senior citizen audience, almost pleading for their support with cringe-worthy statements that only underscores his weaknesses.

Even the exclamation point on his campaign logo is a very unbelievable attempt at trumping up enthusias (even Bush supporters would have to agree that the exclamation at the end of his name was a stretch, at best – no one, not even his family, is enthused about his presidential run and prospects).

And then, last week, without warning and almost in an ominous way, his campaign sunk to a new low. After another “low energy” speech in front of a somber audience, Bush gave a gut-wrenching plea to everyone in the room:

“Please clap.”

It was uncomfortable to watch. But not because we witnessed a grown man beginning for acceptance from a disinterested audience, but because it speaks to our own need for the same validation day in, and day out. It was cringe-worthy because it perfectly summed up the human condition.

Our need to find life in the universe, our interaction with each other, every tweet, every Facebook post, every photo and video uploaded to Instagram and Youtube, every blog post, is published with the underlying need for congratulatory validation (whether it is deserved or not). Instead of “please clap,” we ask for likes, shares, and comments. Support my cause.

“Please clap” is the undercurrent that powers our need to succeed, to climb the highest mountain, to talk to god, to find other life in the universe – as if the very act of existing in and of itself deserves congratulations (maybe it does, maybe it doesn’t). But we’re keenly aware that it is not often given and that, more often than not, we’re placed in the uncomfortable and sometimes compromising position of have to ask the world, our family, our spouses, customers, or complete strangers in social media to “Please clap.”

But when we engage with other people, we often forget this basic need that the other person has, just as much as we have ourselves.

The technology we’re creating will serve this very basic human need. If you think robots aren’t going to be programed to give us constant praise for even the most mundane tasks we perform, you’re in

Brands often congratulate customers for being smart enough to choose their products,

What would happen if we spoke to other people’s need to be validated and accepted over our own need for the same? What if brands found compelling and inspiring ways to clap for their customers (or to help them recognize the awesomeness within themselves)?

Don’t watch the clock.

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