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PRODUCT.|PHILOSOPHY.|LIFE.

You became friends with 92 people


It is that time of the year where Facebook (and now, Instagram too) seem to send out a compilation of the most important moments that we had in 2017, all put together algorithmically for each of their two billion users in the form of a short video that can be shared with all their contacts with the click of a button.

Sean Parker, the founding President of Facebook, in an atypically candid interview last month in Philadelphia, said:
"We need to sort of give you a little dopamine hit every once in a while, because someone liked or commented on a photo or a post or whatever. And that’s going to get you to contribute more content, and that’s going to get you … more likes and comments. It’s a social-validation feedback loop … exactly the kind of thing that a hacker like myself would come up with, because you’re exploiting a vulnerability in human psychology."
This is the basic premise driving social media and a lot of other Internet apps today. They don't do this consciously with this thinking in mind. They do little experiments to see what brings back users to the platform. And as a result, they keep updates to your profile picture on top of others' news feeds longer than other normal posts - because this is where we actively crave social validation more than ever. They do the same when you post something after a long time.

And this brain hacking works.

Because these platforms understand the subtle triggers that get us to do things better than we ourselves do.

Without Facebook having to remind you what your best moments were this past year, what did you get done in 2017? What did you ship? List them down.

Could you have done more? Could you have done better? Yes? Why didn't you do it?

The top answer I've received for this question is that people didn't have the time.

And how will we, when we're giving away our time to the brain hacking experiments and the dopamine hits from social media and the Internet in general.

There's a famous saying that if you don't drive your life in the direction you want, then someone else will drive it in the direction they want.

And as you can see, social media is a strong contender for being that someone.

Reclaim your life, plan your year for 2018. I can show you what has been an effective way to do it for me.

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