Question: should you say what gets the most likes, or what is right?
Discussing social strategies today reminded me of reading about the Sophists and the Philosophers back in the days of Socrates and Epictetus.
See, ‘Sophists’ were basically ‘public speakers’ of the day. They’d go from town to town speaking to crowds of wealthy men, saying basically whatever would create the most applause. If quoting Socrates got applause (and money), they’d keep doing it. Then they’d switch gears as soon as a competing Sophist was getting more attention using another message.
In many ways, their pandering to applause was an ancient social media algorithm.
Conversely, the great Stoic philosophers spoke of virtue – courage, wisom, temperance, justice – and of living virtuously regardless of what got applause at the time. They got less ‘Likes’. Yet marvels like Marcus Auralius’ “Meditations” and Seneca’s Letters continue to to be remembered to this day.
To my knowledge, the words of the Sophists are no longer anywhere to be found.
Not always popular, but always on-brand.
As you go about networking and promoting your body of work, consider each time you post…
…Are you the Sophist, or the Philosopher?