Few ideas came to my mind today and i decided to write about social media giants and brain hacking, wow what a topic. We can all play on the same level ground if we all truly know what brain hacking means.
What is Brain Hacking?
Brain hacking can be defined as an invented design technique/dark pattern (in form of computer programming) embedded on smartphones, mobile apps, social media platforms, etc which have the ability to hijack people’s mind by keeping them addicted, glued and hooked to their devices.
My definition might not be top-notch but please bear with me.
You just can’t stop checking to see if you have new notifications, your eyes are always fixed to the device screen. You are walking on the street and at the same time chatting with a friend or watching a video – just put the device away for God’s sake and be human for once.
Here are five ways social media have been brain hacking humans.
#1. It’s so easy to sign up BUT they won’t let you off the hook so easily
Why is it so easy to open a social media account? Facebook, Twitter etc. have you ever tried to delete your Facebook Account? Was it easy? Ok, I know you will never want to delete your social media accounts knowing fully well you have worked so hard to make new friends, gain thousands of likes on that stunning picture or written a life changing posts people can’t do without etc.
#2. You don’t pay money to use the basic functionalities BUT sure you are going to pay with your time and that’s money
You might argue it BUT you just don’t know that you are paying with your time, and there is a saying “Time is money”. Come to think of it, those five minutes you just spent scrolling through people’s pictures on your feed could have made you richer if you invested it in something worthwhile.
Permit me to borrow words from Tristan Harris, former Google product manager, in an interview with CBS News which aired on April 9, 2017. He said “Technology is not neutral. They want you to use it in particular ways and for long periods of time. Because that’s how they make their money.”
#3. They keep track of every moment of your activities on their sites and apps
Social media platforms will go any length to keep track of users’ activities on their sites and apps. They would collect information about people and how they relate with others, their demographics, habits, news feeds, notifications, and posts. They use this information to sell products and develop techniques to keep users hooked to their devices.
#4. Videos are generally set to Autoplay whether you feel like watching it or not
The annoying thing about videos which are set to autoplay is people don’t want it but hey! You spend too much time on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Snapchat that’s why you will keep seeing them.
The motive behind why social media giants will force autoplay videos on you when scrolling past your feed is because of the money they will make and your undivided attention as you may spend more hours on their platform than expected.
#5. There is always a reward system around the corner just to trick users into spending more time
Social media rewards may not come as physical cash but there is always a system that will push users to keep visiting and spending more time on their sites and apps. These rewards come in form of celebrating users who spent more time online in a month, most active user in a section, most rated user and so many other dark patterns invented to steal people’s time and minds.