Inbox Gambling: Why People (Not You, of Course) Really Live in Their Inbox

Inbox Gambling: Why People Really Live in Their Inbox (Hint: Gamification Example)

You’re bored but you decide not to check Facebook for once.

Congratulations on remarkable discipline. (Let’s face it, maybe¬† you were just scared of being frightened by another cat video.)

Fortunately, your inbox is still ready and waiting.

You hover your finger over the icon on your phone, that pretty little icon.

Inside that digital envelope, not much more than a thumbnail on your screen, waits a world of wonder.

If you’re an Octalysis student, you’ll recognize Core Drive 7: Unpredictability & Curiosity.

A Mix of Good and Bad News (and in Between)

Whether you get good or bad news, or something in between, doesn’t matter.

The inbox provides an abundance of curiosity.

Even before you open it, you are probably receiving a small dopamine hit.

In gamification terms, you are staring at a massive mystery box.

But it is better than that.

The email inbox is an entire list or group of mystery boxes within the larger mystery box. I like to call this the Meta Mystery Box (Or, if you like, the Epic Mystery Box.)

The Meta Mystery Box is so powerful that I’m predicting the email inbox will survive for a long, long, time.

Other Core Drives in the Inbox

Core Drive 8: Loss and Avoidance: Changing your email address, losing contacts, and the hassle of merging to other email clients all make us tend to stay with whatever client you have.

Loss and Avoidance also plays into not wanting to miss important news from your boss or friends.

This plays at the micro level. When you consider pressing that tiny unsubscribe button after the fourteenth email this month from a once-useful-but-now annoying spammer, you still wonder if you might miss out on something useful from the sender in the future.

This, by the way, is anticipatory regret. It is real, and that is probably for the next post.

Let me know if you visited the Meta Mystery Box today and why you did! No harm if you did, just curious to know why you tapped the icon or opened a new tab. For more advanced game techniques and discussions applied to real projects, join the vibrant community of learners at Octalysis Prime.

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2 thoughts on “Inbox Gambling: Why People (Not You, of Course) Really Live in Their Inbox”

  1. The other side of this is the almost complete predictability of phone calls these days. With caller ID, you instantly know if it is someone with whom you want to speak and elect to answer it, send a message or ignore it.

    I guess the only REAL unpredictability is when it is a spoofed call offering you a FREE Florida Vacation…

    1. So true about phone calls. I often get annoyed by a phone call UNLESS I know the caller (sometimes even when I do). If I trained myself to pick up the phone more often (especially for callers I know), I might have more human connections. Food for thought!

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