Game Development Reference
Interview with Dallas Snell: Social Networks
and the Power of Tribes—cont'd
They don't have to be interesting pieces of information. They don't
even have to positively emotionally flavored because neutral interactions
of this type are as powerful as positive interactions, whereas negatives are
five times more powerful than any of those. It takes five positive or neu-
tral interactions to equal one negative interaction.
All those interactions still show that there is a sense of consistency
with the people in your tribe, which makes people feel okay. They don't
feel alone. Aloneness and rejection is the single most negative human
experience that there is. The only thing more powerful than that is human
torture, as it turns out. Physical torture is the only thing that's more pain-
ful to humans than rejection and a lack of acceptance.
These boring Twitter feeds are pumping the airways full of the same
kind of noise we can hear in this room right now. Mother Nature designed
this automatic twitter processing machine in our heads, to where all this
noise that's flying around in our real-world environment is automatically
processed for me, nonconsciously, without me having to consciously read
a Twitter feed or Facebook status update.
Ambient awareness and the bids for connection that are flying back
and forth are important elements that feed human well-being, through
this sense of acceptance in the tribe that we can now engineer in our
games and the systems we are building. We can improve the well-being of
everyone that interacts with it without them even knowing it.
Q: Does that mean status updates are actually making people happier?
A: Yes. They are. I prefer the term “well-being” instead of “happiness.”
Some people wouldn't necessarily say that they feel happy as they sit
there and absorb all those status updates. They don't like some of the
updates they read, or wish they weren't bothered with them, but they
read anyway. Because it's coming from someone that means something
to them in some way and even though they may feel, “This is boring” or
“This is dull” or “I didn't need to know that,” they still hunger for it and
don't turn it off. They keep reading it anyway because what they are get-
ting from it is this overall sense of, “I'm connecting with my tribe,” which
increases our sense of well being. If you hook their brain up to a brain
scanner, you'd see that their levels of anxiety and depression under those
circumstances tend to be lower.