Reflections of context
• Mark Eschbach
Hijack your mind.
Reading over the article How Technology Hijacks People’s Minds — from a Magician and Google’s Design Ethicist. For a second I thought this was hosted on Medium. Rather long title for someone who is in the Design industry. Interesting premise: technology hijacks the mind. I wonder if this will go the route of LinkedIn and Facebook checking or if they have a bigger point. This reads much like a roll up of marketing techinques used throughout the past 60 some odd years. Hijack #1 causes me to really hate system: I feel like the system doesn’t want me to use it. This techinque is often used in sales along with a lot of extranous information that blurs what choices you do have. Great point for creating a closed universe of reasoning which blinds the user to altaernatives and retargets the goals. The author doesn’t provide a particullarly good method to deal with the framing of our choices based on the options presented wihch is slightly disappointing.
Hijack #2 is a rather interseting one. I’ve definitely found myself pulling the arm of the slot machine, but not one to refresh often but to check back later. There is a good feeling to see the number of likes on a family photo climb up. There is a very interesting question on the responsibility of the organizations building the software how additicting they should make it and where they should be mitigating the issues. Hijack #3 seems to be based around a similar idea but in reverse. It’s the variable rewards of the content you are integesting. I wonder if the next generation of social software will expose the tunning to allow users to define their contexts of importance.
Hijack #4, social approval multipliers, is a rather interesting one. I don’t particularly see a problem with the a social system attempting to bring people closer together. By moving the social capital forward it closes the divide of people in a society which is actually rather lonely. Here in the US and I belive many other countries. In truth there are two pictures which are taken with me in them: something I’m doing with a group or my family. If I’m hanging out with some friends and they are okay with the pictures being posted I don’t mind feeling a little closer to my friends. Yearning for social approval is not a need that I have transcended and I doubt many have.
The fifth hijack is a bit of a double edged sword. Like anything in ethics I suppose it depends on the context. Most of my conversations take place for the place of me beacuse I don’t know what is going through the rest of your minds. I could assume you all think like I do however life has made it painfully clear I march to the beat of my own drummer…even on the dance floor :smile:. There are two categories of social systems I use: public and private. With private networks I require other users to follow and intereact. There are no lurkers on those networks I’m willing to deal with and this is because I share private information with a select group of people. On public networks I’m only sharing information which I don’t mind is public. For those following me I’m flattered they would give me a soap box.
Interestingly companys avoid recpiprocity with their builk mailing lists, generally claiming the originating inbox is
email@example.com. I’ve felt rather annoyed many times the companys don’t set the reply to a mailbox which connnects to their support system or sales, depending on the e-mail. We aren’t faceless wallets to take money from, I really wish the culture of the e-mail communities would step up the humman connection portion.
For the public sphere reciprocity is a joke, which is probably one reason why I’ve devalued LinkedIn. Although I have a good number of professional contacts on there, many of the people who actively use it are recruiters asking me to do their job for them. I rarely see LinkedIn as anything more than a way to post a version of my resume (and before you ask, the up to date version is kept at resume.meschbach.com ).
Private networks are rather interesting though. I wonder what it would take to write a bot which scans my Facebook account and determines the amount of content reciprically shared with me. This is more sensitive because I share actual activites and locations there. I’ve been meaning to look into their group controls anyway recently so possibly an interesting weekend project.
Number 6: I wonder if the read time of 12 minutes was rather interesting as the summary of the article may have fit in that, either that or taking the time to think and type is more time the I expect, which is probably true. Hey look! There is more content! Keep going!
Interruptions are more of a social issue. I may recieve your message and I will respond when it fits the calculus of my priorities. Sometimes that means I miss the boat on responding to you, most of the time the urgency is natural and elevates to the appropriate place. Regarding active interruptions though, however this is more of an issue regarding an inability to configure notifications easily. Arguably the base operating systems and applications on mobile devices need to be more configurable here, and the machine learning approach has been less than enticing. Don’t know about you, however the web applications which have notification indicators (and Jenkins started this a few months ago) drive me crazy. Espiecally if I can’t dismiss them.
In the end the author has a great point: people’s time are valuable. Not sure if I’m entirely sold on the idea the companies are entirely responsible for the way we apply our time. There are definitely many ways users could be more informed about the cost in time we will pay for a particular action.