4 min read ⌚
The Rise of Addictive Technology and the Business of Keeping Us Hooked
Have you ever wondered why are you currently reading this on your PC, laptop, tablet or smartphone? Adam Adler says that the answer to this question is pretty obvious. Technology is simply “Irresistible.”
But, is that good?
About Adam Alter
Adam Alter is an American marketing consultant and author, dedicated to “exploring the roots of our tech addiction.” He is also a teacher at the New York University Stern School of Business. So far he has written one more book in addition to “Irresistible”: “Drunk Tank Pink.”
The best way to recommend a good book?
By telling the reader how good that book is considered by authors of some undeniably great books.
Because, for one thing, you don’t need an introduction for either of them.
For Adam Grant, “Irresistible” is “one of the most mesmerizing and important books [he has] read in quite some time.” Because, in it, “Alter brilliantly illuminates the new obsessions that are controlling our lives and offers the tools we need to rescue our businesses, our families, and our sanity.”
Malcolm Gladwell is even more succinct: “’Irresistible’ is a fascinating and much needed exploration of one of the most troubling phenomena of modern times.”
And we can promise you one thing: you won’t look at tech addiction as something innocuous ever again.
Because it’s very real and it’s very scary. Even though you don’t notice it, you spend about three hours every day looking at your phone. Which you peak up about 40 times a day for no reason at all!
So the real question isn’t if smartphones are destroying our generation. It is: how can we stop them?
Well, a good start is understanding what addiction actually is. Interestingly enough, as James Olds discovered while experimenting with rats, its antonym isn’t “sobriety,” but “connection.” Or, to strip it down to bare basics, you’ll not be addicted to anything – if you have loving friends and a partner.
Tech addiction is similar to drug addiction – but it’s not the same. That’s because it stimulates the same areas as heroin and releases dopamine, but it doesn’t have the same effects. And it can be kicked out of life in an easier manner!
You need a starting point?
Look no further than your bed. Revolutionize your sleep habits!
Once you do that, disable email notifications; and still check your mail much less regularly. It will have a positive effect both on your productivity and health!
Next – and this is a fairly difficult thing to do – limit the time you spend on Facebook. And completely ignore the “Like” button! Because, you see, it’s a trick – it makes every post a gamble (in terms of whether you’ll receive a like or not) and that releases dopamine which makes you a like-addict.
Whether you like it or not.
However, it’s a risky ordeal to repress an addiction. It usually makes it worse.
As anyone who has ever tried quitting smoking or drugs has realized in the end, a much better strategy is substitution.
Create a new habit.
And Alter says that there’s a great book to teach you how you can do that.
Key Lessons from “Irresistible”
1. Facebook’s “Like” Button Turns You into a Zeiler Pigeon
2. Don’t Work Yourself to Death
3. Save the Children – They Are Innocent
Facebook’s “Like” Button Turns You into a Zeiler Pigeon
In the 1970s, Michael Zeiler experimented with pigeons by rewarding them after they clicked a button. In the beginning, he gave them food every time they pressed the button. Afterward, he gave them only in 50 to 70 percent of the cases.
The pigeons started pressing the button more regularly in the second case!
The same happens with gamblers – and with you in view of Facebook’s “Like” button. You post more on Facebook in hope that every next post will get more likes.
Stop doing that: it’s a trick!
Don’t Work Yourself to Death
One of capitalism’s greatest tricks: making you believe that there’s always some work left to be done.
Even so – it’s not yours to finish it. Unfortunately, modern technology has given us opportunities to finish some tasks much faster. Does it ring a bell: “just to send one more email, just to make one more Excel table…”
Tech addiction creates “workaholics.” And the title is no joke. It’s a real thing, especially in Asia. In fact, the Japanese, the Chinese, and the South Koreans have words for it.
It’s that bad.
Save the Children – They Are Innocent
Whatever you do, protect your children from technology as long as you can. Putting a limit to the time they spend in front of televisions and computers is one of the greatest things you can do.
Playing with them instead – is even better.
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“Irresistible” QuotesIt seemed as if the people producing tech products were following the cardinal rule of drug dealing: never get high on your own supply. Click To Tweet Tech devices are distracting because they remind us of the world beyond the immediate conversation Click To Tweet In 2000, Microsoft Canada reported that the average human had an attention span of twelve seconds; by 2013 that number had fallen to eight seconds. Click To Tweet It isn’t the body falling in unrequited love with a dangerous drug, but rather the mind learning to associate any substance or behavior with relief from psychological pain. Click To Tweet