Tag Archives: 60 Minutes

Brain Hacking

brainA recent segment on 60 Minutes detailed the activities of “brain hacking” taking place among computer companies in the designs of their social media platforms and apps.

Programmers have developed algorithms that take advantage of the brain’s desires for pleasure, Responses to status updates from other users are often spaced out over a period of time to drive us to check our devices more. And “likes” are sometimes bunched up together so that our brains feel a greater sense of reward when they are revealed.

Beyond making me somewhat mad at Facebook and the like for playing with our minds like this, the story reminded me that there are many things that have a greater influence over our brains than we realize.

Continue reading →

The Influencers

fish60 Minutes recently ran a story about The Influencers, those young millennials who are making videos on the internet and are hired by major corporations to influence the buying habits of millions of people all over the world. One commentator noted that a single video posted by an Influencer had more power and reach than any TV commercial, newspaper ad and magazine spread combined could ever garner.

The story reminded me of what Malcolm Gladwell explained in his book The Tipping Point about “connectors,” who are the people in a community who know large numbers of people and who are in the habit of making introductions. These relatively few “connectors,” Gladwell said, serve as “agents of change” across a wide swath of economic, social and cultural arenas. These connectors led to the rise of the rise and popularity of Hush Puppy shoes in the mid-1990s, for instance.

Continue reading →