Something that has my fascination right now is a recent 60 Minutes report by Anderson Cooper on brain hacking. If you’ve not seen it, you have to watch it immediately. It’s mind-blowing.
It’s one of the key pieces of our new youth presentation that we’re talking to our sons and daughters about.
I used to have this philosophy and this belief that technology was neither good nor bad. It’s simply is, and I talk about this quite a bit in some of our presentations, but, in light of the 60 Minutes story on brain hacking, I’m starting to think it might be shifted a little bit.
The gist is that originally these games, these apps that we’re all using were designed by engineers because they had a purpose. They wanted to get you from point a to point b, fixed the thing, play the game.
Well, what’s happened over the past few years in Silicon Valley is that it’s not just engineers and designers behind this tech now. It’s also psychologists. The reason why? You guessed it. To keep us coming back.
They want us coming back and using the apps, using the games.
A specific example is a Snapchat streak (that’s how many days you use Snapchat in a row). A lot of young people take great pride in having the longest streak among their friends. I’ve met kids with hundreds of days of streaks. I even met one girl who has a current record of 410 days.
What is that compulsion that brings us back? Every time we go to just mindlessly pick up our device because that’s just what we’re doing. Our hands are moving, and we don’t think about it anymore. It’s just, it’s just there, it’s just a subconscious action to go and pick up my phone.
We look at it. We scroll, Facebook, scroll, Instagram, whatever it is you’re looking at, but you didn’t really plan on doing that, did you? You didn’t really want to do that.
You’re doing it because you’ve been trained to do it. We’re being conditioned.
What do we do?
I’m certainly not advocating that everyone put down their devices. That’s not going to happen. We’re here now.
It’s more about making smart and informed decisions, right? Just being conscious of it, being aware of it, that the cards are stacked against you, that the reason why you feel this need just because it was designed to make you feel this way.
You know if you’re not the consumer, you’re the product. Think about that for a second. If you’re not the consumer, you’re the product.
So, who are Facebook’s consumers? Not us.
Facebook’s consumers are the advertisers. We are the products.
We’re paying with our information and the longer the app designers and game developers can keep us playing, the longer they can keep us on our phone, in our app, the more information they get and the more they’re able to sell and target market.
It really is eye-opening, and I hope that adults reading this can talk to the young people in their lives. I hope that the message resonates with the young people that I speak with.
Now that you have this information, what are you going to do with it?