Why You (and I) Blog, Post to Facebook and Twitter

Nobody "needlessly" blogs or posts to Facebook or Twitter

Posted Jul 30, 2014

Nobody "needlessly" blogs or posts to Facebook or Twitter

Henry A. Murray* (1893 - 1988) was an American psychologist who taught at Harvard University for over 30 years.

Among his many accomplishments was the development of a theory of personality called Personology which he wrote about in Explorations in Personality in 1938. In that book he outlined psychogenic needs that people have and that when these needs were thwarted, denied or blocked, personality disturbances resulted.

Murray's Psychogenic Needs

  • Abasement - To surrender and accept punishment
  • Achievement - To overcome obstacles and succeed
  • Acquisition (Conservance) - To obtain possessions
  • Affiliation - To make associations and friendships
  • Aggression - To injure others
  • Autonomy - To resist others and stand strong
  • Blameavoidance - To avoid blame and obey the rules
  • Construction - To build or create
  • Contrariance - To be unique
  • Counteraction - To defend honor
  • Defendance - To justify actions
  • Deference - To follow a superior, to serve
  • Dominance (Power) - To control and lead others
  • Exhibition - To attract attention
  • Exposition - To provide information, educate
  • Harmavoidance - To avoid pain
  • Infavoidance - To avoid failure, shame, or to conceal a weakness
  • Nurturance - To protect the helpless
  • Order - To arrange, organize, and be precise
  • Play - To relieve tension, have fun, or relax
  • Recognition - To gain approval and social status
  • Rejection - To exclude another
  • Sentience - To enjoy sensuous impressions
  • Sex (Erotic) - To form and enjoy an erotic relationship
  • Similance - To empathize
  • Succorance - To seek protection or sympathy
  • Understanding (Cognizance) - To analyze and experience, to seek knowledge

Hmmm... which of my needs did I seek to satisfy by writing this blog?

  • Achievement
  • Autonomy
  • Construction
  • Contrariance
  • Dominance
  • Exhibition
  • Exposition
  • Order
  • Play
  • Recognition
  • Understanding

I can now understand why I spend as much time on the Internet as I do.

How do I feel when any of these are thwarted or blocked or demeaned? Not so badly if it's one or two. However I will readily admit that if most of them were unsatisfied or blocked, I would not be in the best of moods.

What needs are you satisfying when you blog or post to Facebook or Twitter?

* I must admit to an additional "need" of mine which is "Honoring." Henry A. Murray was the much admired and loved mentor of one of my first mentors, Edwin Shneidman, who I cherished and miss and wrote about here: "A Good Man, A Good Death" and wrote this blog to honor. As you can see, Ed was a chip off his old mentor's block in his propensity to come up with lists.

About the Author

Mark Goulston, M.D., the author of the book Just Listen, is a Clinical Assistant Professor of Medicine at UCLA's Neuropsychiatric Institute.

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