“All Up in My Feelings”: Seducing Emotion in Social Media

Yogi tea bag inspirations

Yogi tea bag inspirations

You are not your emotions.
Social media thrives on your emotion.

Whereas there is relative agreement about what constitutes cognition, the same cannot be said about emotion. Some investigators use definitions that incorporate the concepts of drive and motivation: emotions are states elicited by rewards and punishers (Rolls, 2005). Others favor the view that emotions are involved in the conscious (or unconscious) evaluation of events (Arnold, 1960) (i.e., appraisals). Some approaches focus on basic emotions (Ekman, 1992) (e.g., fear, anger), others on an extended set of emotions, including moral ones (Haidt, 2003; Moll et al., 2005) (e.g., pride, envy). Strong evidence also links emotions to the body (Damasio, 1994). From Scholarpedia.org

My morning Yogi tea bag (lemon ginger) read: Live through consciousness, not emotion. I’ve been learning from intensive study of neuroscience, social psychology (influence), and ecological fitness (for my own development though it benefits my research on online black girls’ ecological fitness) that our consciousness is not found in being “all up in my feelings” or “feeling some kinda way.” Self-consciousness comes from quantifying experience THEN analyzing it (Baumeiser and Tierney, 2011). So much of my teaching has focused on using three concepts from other sources: 1) that “learning is evidenced by new and different behavior”, 2) that we live in our “mental maps of reality” (Guest 2014) where our “cultural classifications of what kinds of people and things exist” are reshaped by our *learned* assignments of meaning to those classifications; and 3) that all this can be changed through “deliberate practice” and study that no one else can do for you but mirrors of reality often found in groups matters!

I less and less believe or *feel* that my conciousness is some kind of “conscious attention” which Roy Baumeister found is counter-productive. The uses of “implicit competition, a cash incentive, and audience-induced pressure” cause  in the social mind. So I have started to outsource my consciousness. It started about 3 years ago with my iPhone apps. Habit Maker Habit Breaker; walking apps, a gift of an UP fitness band, a money app called Toshl, even an app to track my monthly cycles.

Several months ago my fitness band died and I lost track of all my tracking. I literally LOST consciousness and reverted to my feelings for guidance. I know now this is a trap! And it is distinct from my intuition which speaks beyond my emotions. You know when you want to eat another X and your intuition says you shouldn’t but you ignore it because your feelings win out? That’s what happens to me. Maybe it’s never happened that way for you. Our impulses live in our emotions. So we must use an outsourced consciousness especially in an age of mobile devices constantly seducing our attention with beeps, pings, updates, reminders, vibrations and all that trains us that our attention is not our own, even when you scheduled those pings and dings. You did not create the built environment of Google, YouTube or Snapchat.

I’ve noticed a lot of talk among black folk in social networks from Twitter to Facebook of being “all up in my feelings“. I love it! I love the way black folk turn a phrase into a social mantra. I use another one daily in my teaching: “Don’t get it twisted!”  There is so much about our cognition, our biology and our emotions we don’t understand and is actually twisted.


Social Media Thrives On “Primitive” Emotions

Brain structures linked to emotion are often subcortical, such as the amygdala, ventral striatum, and hypothalamus. These structures are often considered evolutionarily conserved, or primitive. They are also believed to operate fast and in an automatic fashion, such that certain trigger features (e.g., the white of the eyes in a fearful expression (Whalen et al., 2004)) are relatively unfiltered and always evoke responses that may be important for survival. Accordingly, an individual may not be necessarily conscious of a stimulus that may have triggered brain responses in an affective brain region, such as the amygdala. For discussion, see (Ohman, 2002; Pessoa, 2005). From Scholarpedia.org.


Our emotions may be important for survival as we sit in this moment of #blacklivesmatter but it is not useful or effective to get to a thriving of self-consciousness.

As I get ready to teach about how Language Shapes Thought by social psychologist Lera Boroditsky (see her great video on Dick Cheney’s use of language when he shot his hunting partner), I got to thinking about how we use “all up in my feelings” and how addicted to this language we become. Language (and social media) that keeps many of us unconsciousness of its impact on our being. Stop monkeying around with those emotions! (Not to be confused with your intuition or the evidence from your tracking of your behavior– Don’t get it twisted!).

There’s nothing wrong with being emotional. That is not my point! But being collectively “all up in my feelings” is a kind of social proof that others are attracted to. Let’s all show how bothered we are and instead of an action I took to thrive beyond mere emotion or survival. What are you broadcasting to the world?

Emotions have you until you can outsource or objective your day-to-day behavior, your habits and its results, and choose based on evidence not emotion. “Ideas aren’t dependable there’s a new one every week. Emotions are expendable there’s a new one every week. Culture is cosmetic, Culture is cosmetic.” Repeat after me: “CULTURE IS COSMETIC!!!” That line, which I may be basterdizing a bit, is from Stew’s Passing Strange musical. (Get a DVD copy yesterday!!) I promise you’ll be “feeling it!” lol.

To conclude and clarify, by outsource I mean get those things outside the trap of your emotions onto paper; be accountable to another set of humans (teachers, a support group, a mastermind group, etc.). Do go it alone! And if you cannot find people, then do what I’ve done: find a social app be beware of too many friends all up in dey feelins!  Enjoy your day!!

What I’m Paying Attention to on YouTube:

The Best Match for a Burning Question

I am a fan of fire starter, passion expert Danielle LaPorte.  The former name of Danielle’s blog WHITE HOT TRUTH caught my attention back in April 2010 after our lives got connected as contributors to an ebook honoring International Women’s Day titled What’s Dying to Be Born. Editor Lianne Raymond wanted to curate a womanist version of Seth Godin’s What Matters Now for the new decade.

Last week, she released her latest book of sermons on word, life, love, cash, desire, time and soul. The Fire Starter Sessions is next on my list to buy…once I get the cash.

This morning I got my latest email from Danielle with one ask this morning:

ANSWER THE BURNING QUESTION: What money resentments do you have…that you could let go of?

How fitting!


The last three months I have been enduring a divorce and my biggest complaint since I left: my marriage sucked the life out of my cash flow. Following Brene Brown’s lead in her 2012 TED Talk I am letting my vulnerability shine through storytelling. I found the love of my life. Married him. Discovered we were not compatible after all. And am divorcing him.

Believe it or not, that is a vulnerable story for me. Why? It didn’t involve any drama. And there’s been a lot of drama. Being straight and accepting the simplest truth is real vulnerability right now.


Danielle insisted in her blog post this morning to listen to my inner voice of autonomy when she wrote:

Sisters doin’ it for themselves, heard on high.

Whatever money thorn you might have in your side could be affecting your entire money flow. Locate it.

I’ve been blaming myself for failing at marriage. My ego at work. But that work can’t change my cash flow. Never has and never will.

Resentment ruled 3 months of my life suffering from thoughts of failure and the perceived loss of love after a VERY public romance that started on Facebook. Time to let go.


That thorn made me a victim in a really bad nightmare. And you know what? I am starting to realize the blessing it has been for me to start my life again. I am on a journey, a true discovery, unleashing my skills, my capacities and the best of what I bring to the party. My ego was suffering (so what!). I am a damn great teacher (ask my students) and that’s what’s so, baby!

My coach just impressed upon how humans’ biology can shift:

“Language is physics. Say it and move in that direction. Freedom is there.”

So today I declare in action my morality in motion. Moving past suffering to shift my own gears. I made a mistake. That’s it. And what I do from here defines the morality of my existence. The past is … just the past. I can bring no change to that. I can bring it to the future.

So what’s next, you might ask? I’m not saying. Shut up and publish. Shut up and produce. That’s my motto.

I am an amazing speaker (gave a successful talk for SAP Marketing event in March). I am an award-winning writer and a singer-songwriter. I got a P-H-and-D in hip-hop and anthropology. Oh, yeah, and I am a TEDFellow. And none of those accomplishments and the skills that led to them were ever sucked out of me by marriage or anything else. That was all simply action or no action, not a failure.

I am the best match for setting my world on fire.


So what’s your answer to Danielle’s burning question of the day: What money resentments do you have…that you could let go of?

What could you share right now that you could let go of today?

Kyra D. Gaunt, Ph.D. | KyraocityWorks
2009 TED Fellow, Author, Coach, Singer-Songwriter aka Professor G
Voicing “the unspoken” through song, scholarship & social media

Tweet Me!   Friend Me!  Become a Blog Fan!   Email me!  http://kyraocityworks.com

Play Full Out in Your Relationships!

The safe route will always be there. Instead of considering it an option, why not consider it a net? That way, you’re free to try something different. You can throw caution to the wind, knowing that if you fail, you’ll always have something to catch you. — unknown source

Life is either a daring adventure or nothing. Security does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than exposure. — Helen Keller