deepstash

Beta

Deepstash brings you key ideas from the most inspiring articles like this one:

Read more efficiently

Save what inspires you

Remember anything

The Psychology Behind Why We Can't Stop Messaging

https://www.nirandfar.com/the-psychology-behind-why-we-cant-stop-messaging/

nirandfar.com

The Psychology Behind Why We Can't Stop Messaging
In this post, I analyze he psychology behind how messaging services like WhatsApp utilize the Hook Model to keep users engaged and coming back.

7

Key Ideas

Save all ideas

Smartphones and Messaging

Smartphones and Messaging

Phones became smart more than a decade ago and started doing almost everything.

While the app store has millions of apps to take care of our needs, connecting with other people remains one of the few fundamental uses of the phone.

Actual phone call usage has gone down drastically, while services like text messages, video calls, email, and rich messages (Facebook Messenger and Whatsapp) are used almost throughout the day.

133 SAVES

430 READS

VIEW

The Message

The technological tools we use keeps us connected to the people that matter to us, and the text (later rich text message) is one of the oldest ways of communication since portable phones came into existence.

It also has a hidden secret that makes us keep checking it.

130 SAVES

320 READS

The Four-Step Hook

The Four-Step Hook

... deployed by the messaging software and many other products is composed of:

  1. Trigger
  2. Action
  3. Variable Reward
  4. Investment

Understanding these four steps makes us see the hidden psychology behind a user's daily tech habits.

146 SAVES

372 READS

The Trigger

The Trigger

... towards doing something can be external, like a ‘click here’ button, or internal, like an emotion or craving. A successful trigger graduates from being an external one into something inbuilt in the user.

Example: One feels lonely or bored and instinctively opens Facebook.

Text messages have the notification as an external trigger when you get a new message from a friend, giving you a small rush in the head.

121 SAVES

285 READS

The Action

Any trigger, be it a text message notification or an emotion, prompts a user to take some action, like opening the app or clicking a button.

This simple action can be internalized and make the users click on the app icon to open it even if there isn’t any new message.

133 SAVES

228 READS

Variable Reward

  • BF Skinner, a psychologist, found that if an action gives a variable, unpredictable reward, it is more frequently used and is addictive.
  • Like a slot machine, the reward is not something that the user knows beforehand, providing a sense of wonder, intrigue and mystery.
  • In the case of messages, the variability is baked in the message itself, and different apps utilize novel ways to keep the user hooked.

126 SAVES

236 READS

Investment

There is a push provided to the user to ‘invest’ in the service so that there are variable rewards in the future. This can be anything from uploading a new profile picture to set a status update for all to see.

The investment increases the probability of the next trigger happening, as in the case of messages when a message is sent, the likelihood of a reply increases manifold.

132 SAVES

269 READS

SIMILAR ARTICLES & IDEAS:

TikTok

TikTok is reportedly 500 million users strong. It’s been a while since a new social app got big enough to make nonusers feel they’re missing out from an experience.

TikTok is an app for...

TikTok "tools"

Video creators have all sorts of tools available.
  • Filters as on Snapchat.
  • The ability to search for sounds to score your video.
  • It provides extensive reasons and prompts.
  • Hashtags play a large role as a functional organizing principle. 
  • It nudges you and makes it easy to come up with material to post.
  • Users are encouraged to engage with other users in two ways: Through "response" videos and through "duets" where a user replicates a video and add themselves alongside.

Fundamentally different

TikTok has stepped over the point between the familiar self-directed feed and experience based on algorithmic observation and inference. When you open the app, you don't see a feed of your friends, but a page called "For You" - It's an algorithmic feed based on videos you've interacted with or just watched.

It's not full of people you know or things you've explicitly told it you want to see. It is constantly learning from you and builds up a model of what you tend to watchIn short, it is like an Instagram centered entirely around its "Explore" tab.

2 more ideas

Hooked To Technology

Hooked To Technology
  • Most of us check email too often, almost like a compulsive disorder. Just like any habit, there are internal cues, triggers and impulses that make us behave in a certain way with no consciou...

Bury The Triggers That Hijack Your Attention

Put your mind at ease by burying all the triggers that hijack your attention and keep you away from concentrating on your work.

  1. The first thing is to turn off all the external triggers like your phone notifications, chimes, reminders or icons that rob us of our attention. For persistent apps, you can hide the icon in some folder.
  2. Use online tools like vacation responders and email filters.
  3. Use online calendars that let people schedule time for a meeting.

The Psychology Of Behavior

In trying to change a behavior, reason will take you only so far, incentives must be taken into account as well. 

In psychology, operant conditioning is a type of learning in whi...

Continuous Versus Intermittent Reinforcement

Studies on reinforcement revealed that the best way for us to learn complex behaviors is via continuous reinforcement, in which the desired behavior is rewarded every time it’s performed. Consistency and timing are the keys.

Nonetheless, some argue that intermittent reinforcement is the most efficient way to maintain an already learnt behavior. It consists of giving reinforcement only some of the times that the desired behavior occurs.

The Benefits Of Intermittent Reinforcement

  • Rewarding the behavior immediately may take time away from the behavior’s continuation.
  • It’s cheaper not to reward every instance of a desired behavior.
  • By making the rewards unpredictable, you trigger excitement and thus get an increase in response without increasing the amount of reinforcement.
  • Since the person is already adapted to not always being rewarded, they take longer to stopping the behavior when reinforcement is removed.