Reshared post from Alex Schleber

Habits (customs, rituals) are the psychological and behavioral basis for culture. Hence, digital culture just are the patterns of habituated behaviors of digital peoples. When left to their own devices, communities of humans tend to synchronize their habits in ways that might look unusual from the perspective of people who don't participate in those cultures.

Lots of people, including smart and forward thinking techies like +Robert Scoble, tend to immediately implicate the adoption of such habits as a negative trait by referring to them as "addictions". Addictions are real things, of course, but cultures are real things to, and there is something deeply inhumane about treating the latter like the former.

Talking about technology addiction is a growing media and academic niche industry. Using the vocabulary of addiction to talk about technology has just the right mix of hype, science jargon, gossip, and self-loathing to make the meme spread successfully, even among people who should know better. Unfortunately, this is a situation where our concepts are too weak for the phenomena they attempt to analyze.

Both technology and habit are deeply fundamental aspects of humanity; treating technology as a disease (or worse, a symptom of some further disease) is categorically the wrong approach to understanding the relations between these processes, and how their dynamics give rise to the full scope of human experience.

Alex Schleber originally shared this post:

Must-read post on this key metric:

"… mastery of the mechanics of habit design is increasingly deciding startup winners and losers. Not only because habits cement user behavior in an increasingly cluttered digital world, but because a high-engagement product is also a high-growth product.

The two are one and the same. A high DAU [Daily Active Users] to MAU [Monthly…] ratio is a great indicator of the strength of user habits and, ceteris paribus, I’d bet on a business with the higher ratio over a competitor every time."

#gamification /cc +Max Huijgen +Alexander Becker

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