According to Vice, your attention is a valuable commodity traded on the internet: the more attention a site has, the more effective the advertising, the more money it can generate from charging advertisers. In order to keep users engaged, Facebook (and all the sites the social media giant owns), has designed its interactive environments to be as addictive as a casino's slot machine, in order for users to get their fix of feeling "connected, validated, and liked."
The easiest way to understand this term is by imagining a slot machine. You pull the lever to win a prize, which is an intermittent action linked to a variable reward. Variable meaning you might win, or you might not. In the same way, you refresh your Facebook updates to see if you've won. Or you swipe right on Tinder to see if you've won.
This is the most obvious way social feedback drives platform engagement, but others are harder to spot.
You know when you open Instagram or Twitter and it takes a few moments to load updates? That's no accident. Again, the expectation is part of what makes intermittent variable rewards so addictive. This is because, without that three-second delay, Instagram wouldn't feel variable. There's no sense of will I win? because you'd know instantly. So the delay isn't the app loading. It's the cogs spinning on the slot machine.
|Volkswagen Genuine Parts|
|Welcome Back, Persistent Advertising!|
|Not Just a Client|
|"Adblockers and bots both rose together as a consequence of the advertising industry’s carelessness and short-sighted greed."|
|The Honest Beer Commercial|
|“Eliminating the time needed to stop and re-charge a conventional electric car’s battery.”|
|“Nobody is forcing the participants to stay, of course, but if they leave, they won’t be paid.”|
|“That science fiction future where robots can do what people and animals do may be closer than you think.”|
|Making a Movie Inside a Video Game|
|“This 160-step biochemical process is very well studied, and surprisingly inefficient.”|
|Google Map Shows You the Most Photographed Areas of the World|
|“During this phase of decline, the US was likely to go through a phase of reactionary 'fascism'.”|
|“We’re going to start to see chip implants get the same realm of acceptance as piercings and tattoos.”|
|“The shift from fuel and pistons to batteries and electric motors is unlikely to take that long.”|
|“Our Internet handlers, not government, are using operant conditioning to modify our behaviour today.”|
|“Within 30 years, half of humanity won't have a job. It could get ugly — there could be a revolution.”|
|“After 78 years, the helicopter has been reinvented.”|