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Tweet of the Week #101: Social Media Is Programmed to Appeal to Seven Deadly Sins

Facebook is engineered to inflate your ego. Put down your phone, now.

By 3 min read

How many social media accounts do you have? One, two, or more? Do you have a rough idea of the total time you spend on social media in a day? In a week? If the thought of guessing a ballpark number makes you feel queasy, you know something’s not quite right.

We’re obsessed with social media and we spend on average 144 minutes a day scrolling through angry posts, cat memes, and food pics on social media sites. That’s roughly 16.8 hours per week we could probably spend on something else like: sleeping, cooking, reading a book, or learning something new.

Addicted to likes

The struggle is real. If you feel unplugging from Facebook & co is hard as hell, know that these services have been precisely engineered based on psychology to get us hooked. They tap into what makes us social beings, our need to connect, and be validated by others. With every like and follow, we get a dopamine high and keep going back to get our next fix.

This formula is nicknamed 7DS and Silicon Valley techies mastered it to get us addicted not only to social media but to new online businesses and services.

According to Reid Hoffman, co-founder of LinkedIn, the key for social networks to be successful is to appeal to our most basic desires, AKA what Christianity calls the seven deadly sins. This formula is nicknamed 7DS and Silicon Valley techies mastered it to get us addicted not only to social media but to online businesses and services.

Here’s a perfect illustration to transcribe this formula with today’s popular social media apps.

この画像がぞうきすぎる 

=

“I like this image too much.”

The striking image originates from an article published in a corporate blog last summer.

https://twitter.com/nomen_machine/status/1296802461420621825?s=20

なるほど

たしかにわれてみれば、ヒットサービスは7つなな大罪たいざい刺激しげきしている…

=

“I see.

Indeed, when told so, successful services trigger the seven capital sins.”

To sum it up:

  1. 憤怒ふんど (Wrath): Twitter
  2. 強欲ごうよく (Greed): Amazon
  3. 傲慢ごうまん (Pride): Facebook
  4. 嫉妬しっと (Envy): Instagram
  5. 怠惰たいだ(Sloth): YouTube
  6. 暴食ぼうしょく (Gluttony): UberEats
  7. 色欲しきよく (Lust): Pornhub

The 7DS formula or “framework” can be applied to many (if not all?) social media and modern online services you can think of. Netflix? Sloth. Strava and generally speaking, social networks for athletes to share their exercises? No doubt pride is lurking around.

Next time you’re about to sign-up on a new network or online service, you might want to think about which sin it’ll tap into.

Using the suffix すぎる to express excess in Japanese

In our Tweet of the Week #22, we briefly explained that すぎる is used to expresses “excess.” Let’s delve a bit further on this very convenient suffix. Remember, すぎる can be attached to both verbs and adjectives.

  • 好きすぎる= like too much
  • たかすぎる = too high
  • しずか過ぎる = too quiet
  • べすぎる = eat too much
  • いすぎる = tell too much (go too far with what you’re saying)

Most of the time, すぎる has a negative connotation, as excess isn’t desirable. Eating or loving too much isn’t healthy. Something too high is unreachable while a place too quiet raises suspicions.

But すぎる can also be positive, such as in the following cases:

  • すごすぎる, 最高さいこうすぎる = this is too (so) great! this is too (so) awesome!
  • よすぎる = this is too (so) good!

With adjectives that end in ない such as つまらない (boring) and もったいない (wasteful), すぎる becomes なさすぎる:

  • つまらなさすぎる = excessively boring
  • もったいなさすぎる = excessively wasteful

This form (なさすぎる) is also the one you’ll use with negative forms of verbs and adjectives, to express the (excessive) lack of something.

  • らなさすぎる = know too little
  • 食べなさすぎる = eat too little

Note, while すぎる can be written with its kanji 過ぎる, you’ll most likely find the suffix written in hiragana.

Vocabulary

Japanese Romaji English
憤怒ふんど fundo wrath
強欲ごうよく gouyoku greed
傲慢ごうまん gouman pride
嫉妬しっと shitto envy
怠惰たいだ taida sloth
暴食ぼうしょく boushyoku gluttony
色欲しきよく shikiyoku lust
7つなな大罪たいざい nanatsu no taizai 7 capital sins

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