(Social Media) sites use methods of keeping users. We are first hand observers of these methods. Here is a list of methods I noticed over time.

  1. Fear of missing information
  2. Overwhelm with information
  3. Invoke strong emotions
  4. Being a lookout
  5. Accepting trash content

1 Fear of Missing Information

People feel anxiety of missing information they have awareness of, as they add more subscriptions and follow more users, they feel they are missing out on more information which pulls them deeper into the platform for longer periods of time. Platform owners know about this because they ask users to sign up for a couple of feeds when they create an account.

2 Overwhelm with Information

Similar to the first, as users browse the site they start to feel anxiety of not consuming enough content in their day, as a result they sit on the site longer because the stream of content just keeps coming no matter how quickly the user can skim the article or play the video. This has the added benefit of reducing the ability for the person to introspect on what they just consumed.

3 Invoke strong emotions

When people feel strong emotion they remember that situation much longer. Platforms use this by promoting content which strongly influence users; cute puppies, stories of injustice, pictures of smiling people. Once the user has a visceral reaction, their mind will naturally try to process it and a day or week later they will suddenly remember and awareness of the site will come back to them again.

4 Being a Lookout

Lookouts look for danger and notify the rest of their team, this pattern was replicated on social media, now the (Social Media) site acts as a signal fire for the user. For a proof of this effect consider the last news event in which danger and uncertainty presented itself, now think of how much media you consumed about that event. News media shows violent events for the purpose adopting the posture of a lookout for the viewer.

5 Accepting Trash

For a user to stay on a platform they need to see new content, be able to post and have their post read by other users. All content creates interaction with users which causes them to stay longer.

Normally a company would not allow massive amounts of trash data to be uploaded to their platform, even thinking in terms of ML data sets, there is little benefit for Youtube to allow low effort content such as gaming videos to fill up their data center.