Man’s Search For Meaning in Social Media

by Blair Evan Ball on March 19, 2015

Man's Search for Meaning_Prepare1 Image

Does your life have meaning and purpose?

Does social media bring more purpose to you and your brand?

If so, what is it that drives you?

If not, why not?

Why do some men and women awake each morning roaring to go…yet others can’t seem to pull off their covers and just lay there unmotivated.

No motivation or passion.

If you are in that state, then it’s time for a change. Time for a new direction. Time for a new commitment. Time for a new journey of discovery. Meaning and Purpose does not age discriminate, it’s your time and choice.

A human being is not one thing among others; things determine each other, but man is ultimately self-determining. What he becomes – within the limits of endowment and environment – he has made out of himself.

Social Media amplifies your meaning and purpose. It is far reaching, and communicates that meaning at the speed of a click.


Victor Frankl, a Viennese psychiatrist who survived three years of horror in the death camps during World War II, observed how, when faced with identical circumstances, some people lost all hope for living and died, while others “attained virtual saintliness.”

In the concentration camps, for example, in this living laboratory and on this testing ground, we watched and witnessed some of our comrades behave like swine while others behaved like saints. Man has both potentialities within himself; which one is actualized depends on decisions but not on conditions.

In his book “Man’s Search for Meaning,” Frankl tells how those who had a PURPOSE for living were able to withstand the trials of starvation and torture. Those who lacked a purpose or who could see no meaning beyond their predicament died quickly.

What does this tell you about the importance of establishing a purpose for living?

“Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”
Viktor E. Frankl, Man’s Search for Meaning


If there’s one conclusion to be taken from Man’s Search for Meaning, it’s that love is the highest goal we can possible aspire to. It’s a conclusion supported by not only countless individual testimonies but also by the 75-year Harvard Grant Study, which followed the lives of 268 male Harvard undergraduates and collected data at regular intervals.

Pulling Power-Prepare1 Image

The study’s director, George Vaillant said that the study revealed two basic pillars of happiness: “One is love. The other is finding a way of coping with life that does not push love away.”

Sometimes and in some ways social media defines many people. Have we become too dependent on LIKES, RETWEETS, PINS, +1’s, SHARES, and COMMENTS to define us?

In dealing with businesses and entrepreneur’s most recognize that various social media platforms are just tools to reach their goals, dreams and purpose for themselves and brand. Yet a small percentage let social define them, and it upsets their day. Throwing them off course to what truly matters in the bigger picture.

Be clear about your goals, meaning and purpose in life. Lest the trivial throw you into despair.


Frankl wasn’t just paying lip service to the power of optimism and a sense of purpose: He himself had experienced the worst possible how, living through Auschwitz and losing his father, mother, brother and pregnant wife — everyone in his family except his sister — in the concentration camps.

LET US FIRST ASK OURSELVES WHAT SHOULD BE UNDERSTOOD by “a tragic optimism.” In brief it means that one is, and remains, optimistic in spite of the “tragic triad,” as it is called in PSYCHOLOGY, a triad which consists of those aspects of human existence which may be circumscribed by:

  1. Pain
  2. Guilt
  3. Death

We’ve seen it all around us in this 24/7 social media world on display. In the blink of an eye we are brought face to face with realty half way across the globe, sometimes in our own city, or to a loved one.

How is it possible to say yes to life in spite of all that?

WE launched a new social media campaign for our new product…falls flat. Pain and guilt enter in. We try again for an upcoming event but no one shows or response is anemic. More pain, and more guilt. It was your responsibility to pull it off, maybe your job or promotion hinged on it’s success. Maybe it was needed to help turn your business around, now it’s a possible death sentence. Now what?

How, to pose the question differently, can life retain its potential meaning in spite of its tragic aspects?

After all, “saying yes to life in spite of everything,” presupposes that life is potentially meaningful under any conditions, even those which are most miserable.

And this in turn presupposes the human capacity to creatively turn life’s negative aspects into something positive or constructive. In other words, what matters is to make the best of any given situation. “The best,” however, is that which in Latin is called optimum.

Optimism in the face of tragedy and in view of the human potential which at its best always allows for:

  • Turning suffering into a human achievement and accomplishment
  • Deriving from guilt the opportunity to change oneself for the better
  • Deriving from life’s transitoriness an incentive to take responsible action

Optimism is not anything to be commanded or ordered.

One cannot even force oneself to be optimistic indiscriminately, against all odds, against all hope. And what is true for hope is also true for the other two components of the triad inasmuch as faith and love cannot be commanded or ordered either.

In the American culture that, again and again, one is commanded and ordered to “be happy.” But happiness cannot be pursued; it must ensue. One must have a reason to “be happy.”

Once the REASON is found, however, one becomes happy automatically. As we see, a human being is not one in pursuit of happiness but rather in search of a reason to become happy, last but not least, through actualizing the potential meaning inherent and dormant in a given situation.


In study after study people were examined for depressed thoughts and feelings. One such study looked at individuals who had lost their job. The study group was encouraged to do volunteer work each week. They noticed the feelings of depression were lifted, although their financial situation had not changed.

Have you ever volunteered for something and received great satisfaction, even though there was no financial component?

Next time your’re throwing a pity party for yourself. Look around and see who needs a helping hand. Non-profits always welcome a helping hand. It doesn’t have to be money, just devote your time to something worthwhile. Pretty soon your problems will seem small, and brings back perspective.


According to Frankl, meaning can be found through:

  • Creativity or giving something to the world through self- expression.
  • Experiencing the world by interacting authentically with our environment and with others.
  • Changing our attitude when we are faced with a situation or circumstance that we cannot change.

Social Media allows us to interact with anyone around the world, at anytime day or night. It allows for our creativity to shine. A simple photograph of a beautiful landscape can transport someone half way around the world right to the very spot. A compelling video can give people hope for a better today, and a better tomorrow.

“When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.”

Live as if you were living for the second time and had acted as wrongly the first time as you are about to act now.

As Frankl reiterates again and again throughout the book, when all else has been taken away, man still has his last freedom — the freedom to “choose one’s attitude in a given set of circumstances.”

“Those who have a ‘why’ to live, can bear with almost any ‘how,’”

Why to Live_Prepare1 Image

Frankl lamented the fact that modern society tended to be characterized by “achievement orientation,” which devalued those who weren’t necessarily as “successful and happy” as others. His advice for living a happy (and successful) life was not to chase after success, but instead to devote yourself to something greater than yourself, and let success follow as an inevitable byproduct of that devotion.

Thoughts around meaning and purpose?


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About Blair

 5 Golden Rules for Sharing on Social Media

 5 Golden Rules for Sharing on Social Media

Blair Evan Ball is a Social Media Coach and founder of Prepare1, a company that works with businesses, individuals and non-profits. He is a former executive with a Fortune 50 company, and his national division did $1Billion+ in sales annually.

Blair has written three e-books: Facebook for Business Made Easy, Facebook Pages for Business Made Easy, and WordPress Blog Setup Made Easy.

Blair also educates, trains entrepreneurs and business professionals how to amplify their brand, increase revenues, and raise more funds.

 5 Golden Rules for Sharing on Social MediaThe Race is ON! | PREPARE | Get into the Game and WIN!

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