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#15: Social Media Slot Machine

2 min read

You drag the feed to pull-to-refresh. After that, you either get new posts in your feed or nothing at all like you are sitting in front of a slot machine pulling the lever to get a match or nothing.

Some following notes are from the book Digital Minimalism: On Living Better with Less Technology

There are two forces that hook our brain 1) Intermittent positive reinforcement and 2) The drive for social approval.

1) Intermittent positive reinforcement

A pigeon experiment showed that unpredictable rewards releases more dopamine then known pattern. In that experiment it was just a button which unpredictable releases food. It’s similar to the Facebooks Like-Button.

Everytime you post something on social media it’s a gamble. How many likes do you get? How many shares? How many retweets? How many comments? Or you get nothing at all.

Every headline or link is another pull of the slot machine.

2) The drive for social approval

We are social beings who can’t ever completely ignore what other people think of us.

A click of the heart button feels like approval from the tribe

Tagging someone “Do you want to tag?” -> You are thinking about that someone.

So every time you enter a social media network or you could say every time you just go online, imagine you’ll enter a casino. And the goal is to just walk past as many slot machines as possible.