Hooked on the dating life

So I finished reading Hooked by Nir Eyal yesterday. I was talking to my wife about how everything about the Hooked model actually makes sense.

First Trigger the user into an Action. Then give them a Variable Reward, fancy pictures, a sense of love and community, a virtual sense of excitement or something to get them happy. Lastly, get them to Invest by getting their friends involved on a social network, filling out something simple, or by even getting them to pay money. Make them do something that says, “I identify with this product”. Finally repeat the Hooked Cycle over and over again until it’s a regular part of their lives.

Take a look at this fancy graph:

So back to the conversation with my wife:

She went on to tell me how her friend Jane is a serial dater. She goes on at-least 4 dates a week, possibly even more. According to Jane, she is searching for prince charming in a sea of frogs. Having just read Hooked, I asked her if she was hooked on dating. I guess she was, 4 dates with different guys each week seems a little excessive.

Let’s analyze. She gets an internal trigger, a feeling of loneliness. Then goes on a dating app (Action), gets to select a guy by most likely swiping right (Variable Reward) and makes an investment of her time by actually going on the date. The Habit continues, again and again.

With this Hooked cycle, how will anyone find their prince charming?

I often hear people say video games are making our kids into criminals by teaching them violence. Are dating apps the adult version of a video game? Do they stand in the way of real romance by giving us a never-ending cycle of cheap thrills?

You might be going on dates to find Mr. or Ms. Right, but make sure the next time you are on a date, you’re not Hooked.