On Quartz, an insanely fascinating article by Alexis Madrigal on how people like Facebook because it's like gambling. Alexis doesn't mean Facebook is addictive -- though we spend an incredible time on it. What it really is about, much like gambling on a slot machine, is getting into the zone, finding "the pleasure of the repeat, the security of the loop."
I know the hypnosis, as Im sure you do, too. You start clicking through photos of your friends of friends and next thing you know an hour has gone by. Its oddly soothing, but unsatisfying. Once the spell is broken, I feel like Ive just wasted a bunch of time. But while its happening, Im caught inside the machine, a human animated GIF: I. Just. Cannot. Stop.
Or maybe itll come on when Im scrolling through tweets at night before bed. Im not even clicking the links or responding to people. Im just scrolling down, or worse, pulling down with my thumb, reloading, reloading.
Or sometimes, I get caught in the melancholy of Tumblrs infinite scroll.
Are these experiences, as Stone would have it, love? The tech world generally measures how much you like a service by how much time you spend on it. So a lot of time equals love.
My own intuition is that this is not love. Its something much more technologically specific that MIT anthropologist Natasha Schüll calls the machine zone.
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