With a tip of the hat to Maslow, here is a visual compilation of my observations from over ten years in the web/social arena, about people saying what’s on their mind. The diagram is an analogy of psychological prioritization with no intent or effort to be prescriptive. However, it is a result of considering how and why thoughts begin to emerge, become exposed, and persist or not — in an environment where individuals constantly interact in a universe of nearly unrestricted information access.

As might be expected, the hierachy identifies the most essential requirement at the bottom (fundamental) and the most discretionary requirement at the top (aspirational). Although thinking may gain the awareness of outside parties pretty far down in the stack, the further up the hierarchy you go, the more social influence matters.

One sample of the implications of the hierarchy is that ideas may come and go, or keep and lose support, based on whether someone cares enough one way or the other to keep them in circulation. This is an illustration of why “caring” might occur or cease, showing five different levels at which the caring can be challenged or motivated. In retrospect, there is a notable accountability in these terms, of “thinking”.

This model separates the “unrestricted access” within the current information environment into how exposure of the thinking typically appears to be sensitive. The sensitivity is to managed versus unmanaged attention outside of what is already an “internal” reference point for the thinker.

In effect, a thinker has an emotional disposition, at different points in time, and on various levels, that affects whether the thinker’s idea will begin, and/or continue, to reach exposure.

The Social Hierchy Of Thinking