Laura Kalbag
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At this point, I’m pretty sure that the tech industry uses “engagement” as a euphemism for “addiction.”

@laura I think you're right in that assesment. Directly coupled with income through advertisements or in-app-purchases. (my pet peeve)

@laura Given the ways marketing is used, particularly things like social influencers so people feel compelled to try the Hot New Thing I'm inclined to agree. There's a lot of encouragement to chase what's current, they feed it

@babe they put the capitalism in surveillance capitalism.

@laura As a member of that industry, I think I can say with confidence that we don’t realize that. It’s true, but we don’t think about it. At least, not most of us. Some of us are considering it.

I’m not in social media, at least. That shit seems toxic AF

@laura When I see “engagement” or “interactive” with regards to a user-interface I immediately know that it is extremely inefficient to use, getting in my way, and constantly claiming attention instead of just letting me do what I need to/want to do and moving on.

I don't see a difference between a free first shot of a psychoactive drug and an app that's “free with In-App purchases”, especially games with paid consumables. They're literally designed to foster “engagement”.

@laura I think there is a problem with discussing it as addiction.

It's not really wrong, it describes the symptoms correctly, but our public discourse describes 'addiction' as an illness (best case) or the victims own fault/shortcoming/character flaw.

Both of those framings ignore how the immense drive to always come back to these interfaces/products is completely by design, it is the basis of these companies business model.

'addiction' implicitly moves the blame onto the victims.

@subsumtion I disagree because I agree with everything else you’re saying. We know addiction is not the the fault of the addictive person, and to design something to intentionally addict is incredibly unethical.

@laura yes, I may know too little about addiction, and I don't even have a better word for it in this context. Exploitation maybe, but this doesn't keep the meaning of the stickyness of these UXs.

I'm just uncomfortable with the way 'addiction' seems to naturalize the design choices a data driven surveillance/communicative capitalism makes.

@laura The gaming industry does for sure, they’re not even shy about it. Many developers unabashedly market their games as “addicting.”

@laura At the very least, as a euphemism for "The people we have successfully manipulated"

@laura It wouldn't be unprecedented. They've been using "passionate" as a euphemism for "willing to work unpaid overtime" for years.

@laura "Engagement" is a more accurate term than "addiction" because there's no physical habituation to gambling, social media, mobile games, etc.

Just mental habituation, which probably doesn't make an "engaged" "user" (junkie sense) less committed to something they don't need.

Comes from the slot machine industry and marketing, where that's what they do.

@laura also "disrupt" as a euphemism for "disrupt"

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Little updates, posts, and toot-able things by Laura Kalbag. Leave your surveillance capitalism shackles behind and come join me in the fediverse! Want to know why I’m here? Read my post on ‘What is Mastodon and why should I use it?’