The 1930's character, The Shadow, possessed the power to cloud men's minds so they couldn't see him.
Any stage magician will tell you that there are
blind spots, edges, vulnerabilities and limits of people’s perception,
so they can influence what people do without them even realizing it.
Once you know how to push people’s buttons, you can play them like a piano.
1.) CLOUDING METHOD ONE
IF YOU CONTROL THE MENU, YOU CONTROL THE CHOICES
Western Culture is built around ideals of individual choice and freedom.
Millions of us fiercely defend our right to make “free” choices,
This is exactly what magicians do.
They give people the illusion of free choice while architecting the menu so that they win, no matter what you choose.
I can’t stress enough the importance of this insight.
When people see a menu, they do not ask:
WHAT'S NOT ON THE MENU?
WHY AM I GIVEN THESE OPTIONS AND NOT OTHERS?
WHAT ARE THE PROVIDER'S GOALS?
Say you're out with friends having a meal and a good conversation.
You want to keep it going so you ask Yelp for nearby recommendations and get a list of bars.
Yelp substituted the group’s original question (“where can we go to keep talking?”)
with a different question (“what’s a bar with good photos of cocktails?”) all by shaping the menu.
While looking down at your phones,
you and they don’t see the park across the street with a band playing live music.
They miss the pop-up gallery on the other side of the street serving crepes and coffee.
Neither of those show up on Yelp’s menu.
2.) CLOUDING METHOD TWO
Put a slot machine in a billion pockets.
How do you keep people hooked on an app?
COVERT IT INTO A SLOT MACHINE.
The average person checks their phone 150 times a day.
Why do we do this?
Are we making 150 conscious choices?
The #1 psychological ingredient in slot machines:
Intermittent Variable Rewards
Addictiveness is maximized when the rate of reward is most variable.
Slot machines make more money in the United States than baseball, movies, and theme parks
If you want to maximize addictiveness, all tech designers need to do is link a user’s action with a variable reward.
Oh, but you don't play slot machines you say.
Several billion people have slots machines in their pockets.
When we pull our phone out of our pocket, we’re playing a slot machine to see what notifications we got.
When we pull to refresh our email, we’re playing a slot machine to see what new email we got.
When we swipe down our finger to scroll the Instagram feed, we’re playing a slot machine to see what photo comes next.
When we swipe faces left/right on dating apps like Tinder, we’re playing a slot machine to see if we got a match.
When we tap the # of red notifications, we’re playing a slot machine to what’s underneath.
3.) CLOUDING METHOD THREE
Another way apps and websites hijack people’s minds is by inducing a “1% chance you could be missing something important.”
If I convince you that I’m a channel for important information, messages, friendships, or potential sexual opportunities —
it will be hard for you to turn me off, unsubscribe, or remove your account —
because (aha, I win) you might miss something important.
* This keeps us subscribed to newsletters even after they haven’t delivered recent benefits
(“what if I miss a future announcement?”)
* This keeps us “friended” to people with whom we haven’t spoke in ages
(“what if I miss something important from them?”)
* This keeps us using social media
(“what if I miss that important news story or
fall behind what my friends are talking about?”)
We’ll always miss something important at any point when we stop using something.
We don’t miss what we don’t see.
HAVE YOU HAD YOUR MIND CLOUDED
BY THE INTERNET LATELY?