Hey, everyone, this incident and welcome to Let's Do Shots, I just saw Social Dilemma on Netflix and it has triggered a whole bunch of emotions and thoughts in my head. I couldn't keep myself from talking about it with all of you. For everyone who hasn't seen the documentary yet, they basically tell us that the fact that we are also addicted to social media is not something that just happened by chance. It is by design.
And big tech companies are working really hard to create more features which to keep us hooked onto it even more. So let's do shots.
One of the lines which really caught my attention on the show is that if you are not paying for the product, you are the product.
What the basically mean is that the reason why we are able to use Facebook and Instagram for free is because we each and every single user is a product that they sell to advertisers. It is our attention that is being sold. So if it is our attention that is being sold, it means that they have a lot to gain by making us spend more and more time on their apps and by winning all of our attention. So tech firms that make money by selling ads and the users attention design products and features in the way that they spend more time on these platforms.
What are these features or there are loads. Let's dive in.
The most addictive feature on these social media apps is the infinite scrolling feature. You can keep scrolling through your feeds and there will never be an end. Our minds are used to stopping an activity. If we see a visual into it, it reminds us that, all right, this is an ending point. And you can now move on to the next thing. The biggest example of this is Google. There's a popular joke which says that the best place to hide dead bodies is the second page of Google search results because no one looks at it.
Why is that? Because Google has created a break after the first page. It prompts you to click on next if you want to see more results. Our mind sees that as an ending point and does not browse anymore. It tells itself that we can move on to the next activity. But on social media feeds, you don't get to click on the button to decide if you want to see more posts, you can keep scrolling and you'll be shown an infinite number of posts.
Instagram realized that people are not going to want to see posts they have already seen before. So now they have put suggestive posts in their main feed. This way you're always being shown new posts in an infinite scroll. And it's not just Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and the likes. This happens on YouTube as well. You know, after you watch a video, they already have the next video ready or not to play. It's the same concept as an infinite scroll.
The idea is to not create a break or not showing a stopping point.
That's exactly what happens on Netflix as well when the next episode plays, as soon as the first one is over, even before the credits start rolling. A couple of years ago, Reed Hastings, who is the CEO of Netflix, said that the main competition was sleep. Yes, sleep, because if you're sleeping, you're not watching Netflix. Have you wondered why all these apps have a dark mood so that you can continue scrolling through the night without hurting your eyes, hence beating their competitor sleep?
One Instagram, D.M., the fact that you can see when someone is typing is not just a cool feature, it is designed to ensure that you don't leave the app after sending a message and forget to come back. The fact that your friend is typing keeps you hooked on to the app. But you know, what is the one thing that literally begs for your attention literally all day? Notifications, no notifications were originally designed to keep you away from your phones.
It was a positive feature that folks decided that, hey, we don't want you to keep coming back to your phone and refresh your mailbox to see if you've received any new mail. So we will notify you if you get an e-mail and you don't have to keep coming back and checking your phone. But the same feature, which was originally designed to help you stay away, has now become a feature which keeps bringing you back to it again and again for more.
As a word might be new, but the concept is age old. The reason that we immediately reach out for our phone as soon as it begins is because we don't want to miss out on anything. We don't want to join a group late. We don't want to be late in replying to a comment. It is all governed by our fear of missing out. Notifications were initially made to notify us that a human is trying to connect the dots, that is fine.
But where it becomes an issue is when we're all being notified about non-human interactions. And more than 50 percent of our notifications today are about non-human interactions.
E-commerce apps are using notifications and stealing our attention while we are having dinner with our families. Just to tell us that you sure should is now available at 50 percent off. So-called news apps are sending a notification about a breaking story which is not even supposed to be part of the news in the first place, let alone take your attention away. There's a good way of figuring out how much attention you give to your phone. Just switch on a 90 minute movie, promise to yourself that you won't touch your phone and notice how many times your phone rings with notifications and how difficult it is for you to not sneak a glance of your phone screen.
You will be surprised. That's all for today. Until next time, let's do shots.