Are you a victim of the Ludic Loop?

As a contract employee for a large organisation I rarely get contacted unless they want something from me.  Yesterday, however, was a different thing altogether. They had organised an online symposium for R U OK day.


Initially I thought I would beem in now and then with my main purpose of the exercise for totting up PD credits. (I often find some of these academics get a bit carried away with their own self importance and thought this would be another such event.) I was pleasantly surprised as it was not.


As it happened I spent more time at the symposium than not which surprise me. In it I learnt a few things and it is one of those things I want to write about today.


I’d heard of the ludic loop before I couldn’t remember in what context. After researching a bit I found out it’s linked to increased anxiety and depression.” Four of the five most popular forms of social media harm young people’s mental health, with Instagram the most damaging, according to research by two health organisations.”

It also appears that many people are unaware that they are being manipulated by social media giants through this nebulous thing called the ludic loop.

The ludic loop first came to prominence as a technique used by gambling firms  (slot machines primarily) to create psychological dependencies and ingrain repetitive actions in the lives of their victims. They designed a system aimed to lock users into a cycle of addiction.

Social media agencies have done the same thing. Think about it, the ‘pull to refresh’ your newsfeed is quite similar to a slot machine. The cycle starts with a trigger (a competition) and action (tag 3 friends and follow) and a reward (winning the competition). I admit that I am guilty of this. see

Put up your hand if you have found that you have been on your phone and by the time you get off all of a sudden you realise you’ve been on there for far longer than you expected. We’ve all done this. The trick is to break the cycle.

The best suggestion I have for this is to track your usage time of social media over the period of a week or two. Decide how much you think is enough. Work out a daily limit. And each time you go on there set a timer to get off after a certain period of time.

I might also suggest that in between sessions of social media perhaps you allocate a bit of time to do a meditation to help ground you and break the cycle. Grab a deck of my cards here

More information can be read at the link below.