Beware of BadginationSeptember 2nd, 2019
After 7 or so years as a Web Developer, I explored the idea of being a marketer. I have always had great respect for "Marketing Guys". Even though calling them that is a huge insult (they typically are the most conscious of job titles and seemingly hold titles in high esteem) I think it is a compliment. This should have been my first clue I am not a good marketer.
It was about 2010 or 2011 when I befriended a life insurance salesman. We had some commonalities between us and I was starting (my later abandoned) online game show called PrizeMax.
He gave me one of my first life lessons in marketing. He told me marketing gets much easier if you prey on people's emotions. He was too ethical to engage but explained the process to me. Life insurance becomes much more attractive if you are scared of how fucked over your family would be if you die. Give your family enough money to pay all debts and a year salary of yours to adjust and get back on their feet.
At the time I didn't get it, but as I researched marketing more and more, I learned that there was a trend. You can see the trend too if you start paying attention to it. And it is easy to pay attention to it by following one simple rule: When you buy something, think back to how you were sold on it.
Often you feel like you need whatever you are buying. Maybe you are buying one brand over another because the other brand makes you feel mad. Maybe you think a product will give you more self confidence so you can feel better about yourself.
Not everything you buy will be because it makes you feel. Some things you will buy out of habit or necessity. Those businesses are even more lucrative because they can get recurring revenue out of you.
And not everything you get sold on, leads to a purchase. In this day in age, having a fan or advocate spreading your message has value proportional to their fanaticism and reach.
Some feelings you get from ads are good feelings. Proud feelings. Comedic feelings. Heart-felt feelings.
Some of the feelings you get from ads are bad feelings. Fear, uncertainty and doubt.
It is in your human nature to be affected by all of the above feelings and take away various levels of happiness or sadness .
Emotion is driving you. This emotion is directed at you through your line of sight. You should increase your awareness as to what occupies your lines of sight the most. And with those sources, look specifically at what emotional triggers they are trying to bestow upon you. Are these good emotional triggers? Are they bad emotional triggers? If they are bad emotional triggers, are you reading past the headline?
Often you can spin a headline to say whatever you want. Take these headlines for example:
- The Gay Truth About Trump (uncertainty from New York Times)
- Parked Teslas Keep Catching on Fire Randomly, And There's No Recall In Sight (fear from The Drive)
- Facebook delivers ‘clear history’ tool that doesn’t ‘clear’ anything (doubt from Sophos)
My reaction to the first headline is, New York Times thinks Donald Trump has homosexual tendencies.
My reaction to the second headline is that Tesla cannot be trusted.
My reaction to the third headline is that Facebook won't protect my privacy.
Now the clever thing here is that the sites which you land on can take over the experience. The sites themselves can detect you are viewing through Facebook's user agent. They can then (or not) use that information to mess with your user experience. Regardless of whether they mess with you based on user agent, they may mess with you in other ways. They could force you to read a small excerpt and then require a membership to read on. They could paginate the article annoyingly so that you abandon it before the conclusion. And when this happens, what are you left with? Just a headline. Despite your best efforts to understand everything they have to say, they make it too difficult and this is what I call "Badgination".
In conclusion, when you see a headline, view the source and judge your user experience. If the source gives you a bad user experience, ignore that source and dismiss the headline.
Mediocre Developer always striving to be better. Learn from others' mistakes, learn by doing, fail fast, maximize productivity, and really think hard about good defaults. Computer developers have the power to add an entire infinite dimension with a single Int (or maybe BigInt). The least we can do with that power is be creative.