When under threat from an approaching feline, gazelles will repeatedly leap up and down in the air – even when logically it seems they should run. It’s an example of a signal – used to communicate a concept to trigger a reaction. In this case, “I am strong and fast – if you chase me you’ll be wasting your time.”
What does this phenomenon of nature have to do with human communication online? We give off signals all the time – to deceive, to attract, to manipulate, to provoke reactions and establish impressions of who we are. We have gotten used to practices of signaling in person. But the web has completely changed how we signal.