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