Thursday, April 14, 2016

Splash and Dash: Applying Lonely Introverted Tech Workers' Psychology to Online Stimulus-Response

I had a tech blog that was getting no hits so I decided to try an experiment on a group of people that I understand quite well: introverted technology workers. I know a little about the general psychology of people that spend all day working in relative silence.  They tend to have high IQ and low EQ. They also tend to need to prove how smart they are to others; the problem is, that they
tend to also have other problems in their life that make it hard for them to
achieve those needs through normal means.

Then I read this article and it was clear to me how to exploit psychology to achieve an objective.
Someone’s inherent motivation to seek social contact can spring from either the positive reward of connecting with others or the negative emotional states triggered by feelings of loneliness. For most of us, the urge to connect with friends and family is a combination of avoiding the dejection of feeling alone blended with the uplifting feeling created by social connections. Many of our primal urges to be social—or to be a loner—may be driven by neural mechanisms beyond the locus of our conscious control.
Beyond the locus of conscious control. Like Cerberus at the gates of the underworld, they can't help but bark at intruders.

You see these people have a problem, while they are paid to make technology they work within an organization and their contribution is hidden by other areas like marketing or just their boss who takes credit for them. They are under-appreciated or undervalued or underpaid or all three and more. Some of them are unhappy and need an outlet but they can't take an overt action directly.

So in this what is clear that unhappy tech people that crave attention but can't go about it the right - socially acceptable - way still need attention even if they get it from other means. If I poke the bear in just the right way, then he will react in just the right manner. React subconsciously in the PREDICTABLE manner.  That is an advantage that might be exploitable.

So what they do is seek other means to achieve their needs; they take their technical knowledge into forums where their other personal attributes are not seen as a negative. Some of them become angry online trolls; they find outlets where their knowledge can be exploited for self-satisfying needs. They find things to correct, they make people ask them nicely for help and they lord their technical correctness over people that don't really care.  If you are struggling to understand what I mean then consider an example.  Think of the IT guy from Dilbert: Mordac the preventer of IT services:

Technical people use their one advantage to gain the other parts of life they don't control.

 No matter what your profession is, (with enough study) tacticians can beat you at your game because we study all games.  We understand tactics, we apply it to games. In this case I am employing a feint, or some laymen call it a "shoot and scoot".

Now when it comes to understanding knowledge, or epistemology, science people can be a little strident in their understanding. Try a lot. They learn some things, they see them working and convince themselves that's all, and then if someone suggests things that don't fit circumspection is the last thing most ponder.  Few of them have read Wittgenstein or Kant or Descartes. There are limits to knowledge, there is no absolute truth or beauty. But to someone that understands a limited bubble, and hopes that bubble is practically all, then to challenge THEIR bubble of knowledge is to make them upset. It confronts their nature. It disputes their world model. But it also gives them a reason to try and get attention to how smart they are.  Oh please won't anybody see how smart I am!

And even in the more mundane, if you make something that they find silly or pointless - because remember they are assured they understand all because they know a lot about a defined rule set - then they are smug enough and conceited enough to tell you all about how they think of your idea.

In either case it makes them respond if you challenge their knowledge bubble. It forces (subconsciously) the dog to bark. Eureka!

Think what happens when you bait lonely, unhappy, introverted people with a tidbit of incorrect, or partly correct, or just plain wrong information.

Now, pondering the right and wrong, the good and evil, the eightfold path and karma when it comes to exploiting a fact of science for an applied purpose,  I could determine that my method is wrong; incorrect. I decide to look at it as fulfilling needs on many fronts. I get hits I didn't otherwise get, and they got a chance to mock a person for their stupidity. So long as one doesn't engage in not-Right speech then one isn't really breaking the Eightfold path. I am providing a service, they get an outlet for anger and loneliness which generates a social connection they desperately need. And they are providing a service back.  Win-win.

So I tried a tactic I call splash and dash; I made a blog post that was controversial - it would stir negative feelings in lonely angry people and rouse them - and then I stood back and let them foam at the mouth.  The splash is something that confronts their technological syntax and gives them a reason to be mad and mock people. The dash is not confronting them.  I didn't fight them, I didn't mock them back or protest too much. I did hint at what they were doing and that's just a human weakness on my part I couldn't help spilling out.

The splash is the footsteps in water outside the underworld, and the dash is avoiding the angry maws of Cerberus in retaliation...

This was the result:

Quantitatively it was a success. Qualitatively I am not sure. I find that some of the most susceptible angry introvert tech workers visit here.  I don't plan to do this very often but who knows. I decided not to go into any details here because some of those people might make their way to this page, looking for more stuff to mock and then realise what happened. I try to follow the teachings of (some not the mystical nonsense) Buddhism, I try to assist global happiness enlargement. I don't plan to mock anyone for how I played them. I look at it as I made them happier with what they got.

So if you want to get hits and you need them from a technological audience, then consider a splash and dash posting. Understand that it is the lonely unhappy low EQ people that are responding and they can't help themselves. Expect they will be nasty and don't take it personally because the problems are not located in you, they are located in them. If you are fortunate, they will be invigourated with fervour and on the power of controversy they will perpetuate onto many other barking dogs all guarding the gates of technical knowledge.