7 Ways Facebook Keeps You Addicted (and how to apply the lessons to your products)

By Jeff Bullas

How Facebook Keeps You Addicted

In 1972 the first app went live.

It wasn’t designed for mobile and it was meant only for geeks and programmers.

That invention was designed and built by Ray Tomlinson. Today that messaging app is used by 4.3 billion people and 269 billion messages are sent every 24 hours.

You may have already guessed what that app is.

Email was the first addictive digital technology that had us checking in to our computers and then decades later our mobile phones.

One of the key reasons for why it is so addictive is “operant conditioning”. It is based upon the scientific principle of variable rewards, discovered by B. F. Skinner (an early exponent of the school of behaviourism) in the 1930’s when performing experiments with rats.

The secret?

Not rewarding all actions but only randomly.

Most of our emails are boring business emails and occasionally we find an enticing email that keeps us coming back for more. That’s variable reward.

That’s one way Facebook creates addiction.

Addiction is now designed “in”

Social media is no different but it has gone to another level.

In fact addiction and keeping you hooked is now designed “into” many platforms and apps. Because the apps that win are not the best products but the most addictive.

In a recent interview on Brain Hacking, Tristan Harris (an ex-Googler) describes how Facebook, Google and others are designing apps for addiction. They want you back to their product at least once a day.

But the reality is that users are spending an average of 50 minutes a day just on Facebook. This is up from 40 minutes a day just a year ago.

A tiny habit

Habits are powerful.

They are also behind behaviour change and one of the top in this field is the behaviour scientist B.J. Fogg who has been lecturing on this since 1997. He shares his time between Stanford University and industry work.

Fogg told Ian Leslie in a recent interview in 1843 magazine that he read the classics in the course of a master’s degree in the humanities. He says that when he read Aristotle’s “Rhetoric”, a treatise on the art of persuasion, “It just struck me….this stuff is going to be rolled out in tech one day!”

The reality now is that we are seeing soft and pervasive persuasion used on the social web.

His simple model provides an insight into how to create powerful apps and design .

Image source: Foggmethod.com

His recommendation?

Design for the behaviour and not the outcome. That specific behaviour could be a tiny habit. The outcome of becoming healthy is made up of many tiny simple habits. This could include, eating a healthy breakfast, walking every day and getting a good nights sleep.

A creating a tiny habit could be as simple as:

Trigger: After I walk in the front door

Behaviour: I will hang my keys on the hook

His suggestion is then to celebrate that small habit success. That could be as simple as saying “I am awesome” or a happy dance.

The goal Go to the full article.

Source:: Jeff Bullas Blog

Be Sociable, Share!