3.01.2015

This Guy Woke Up This Morning - You Won't Believe What Happened Next!

Good morning. I am still a sucker for those click bait posts on social media that show a compelling or ambiguous photograph, with a caption like the title of this post. And, sorry, but if you just read the previous sentence...you are one too. Cheers!

Seriously, though, and by seriously, I mean not seriously at all, I have been willfully weening myself off such posts, whose main purpose is to generate "clicks," or junk Internet traffic, to improve the site's ratings in Google and other search engines. Most of these posts, while not completely uninteresting, are quite believable and usually do not live up to the awe inspiring claims of the title.

Eventually, I think more and more people will catch onto this web scam and stop clicking through to cats that talk and dresses of some ambiguous color, when they discover they are less than satisfied by the content of the posts they find there.

But the interesting thing is how well this phenomenon illustrates operant conditioning and how humans are really driven by the same behavioral cues as every other animal. While 90% of click bait posts might be kind of mediocre at best, it only takes that 10th one to be pretty good (or at least controversial) for people to maintain the behavior of checking out EVERY click bait post they encounter. The biological basis of this is well established. In rats and dogs, and pretty much every higher animal, giving a reward for a behavior every Nth time the behavior occurs, where N is some smallish integer between 2 and 9, say, strengthens future repetition of the behavior, especially when the reward comes not every time, but rather after some random occurrence of the behavior. The animal (clicker) doesn't know when the reward will come, so they do the behavior whenever they are able to in hopes of getting a reward. The same exact behavioral cues are at work with click bait posts, and that is why advertisers use them to generate traffic to sites (notice the conspicuous and related ads on all of these sites).

So, while I know that I will be missing out on that dog that says "I love you," I am now forcing myself to ignore posts that are not explicit about their content in the title caption. I am even taking a moment to block such content from my Facebook feed when I encounter it so I don't have to see it constantly showing up there.

Anyway, I promised you revelations about "this guy" and the unbelievable things that transpired after he woke up this morning, so I won't leave you hanging.

This guy is ME!

I urinated. Then I fed the dogs, Buddy and Foster, and let them out in the yard to relieve themselves too. I gave Buddy his medicine for Cushing's Disease, which he apparently has, according to my vet. He said "thank you" to me in his special doggie way of licking the peanut butter I use to hide the pill off the spoon. If you listen closely, his slobbering tongue really does kind of sound like "thank you."

I made myself a four egg and black eyed pea frittata for breakfast and watched an episode of Blacklist on Netflix, all before noon, the time I had set to begin working on my writing homework (for which this blog post is my warm up exercise). For the next five hours or so, I will be furiously working on my homework. I have buffered in a couple extra hours if needed, but I am hoping I will be focused and efficient. That way, after dinner, I will run a few songs on bass in anticipation of the open jam at Funk's Pub tonight, and around 8 PM I will head over to Funk's and set up my laptop to run the live stream of said jam.

I should caption the live stream something like: "These random musicians got up on stage together for the first time and what happens next is AMAZING."

Actually, I think I saw that very caption on Facebook a few days ago. Weird.

Anyway, I hope my unbelievable morning was the most compelling thing you ever read, but I am pretty sure it's not. That's OK though. You'll still click on the next enthralling meme caption you see to try to find that elusive deep satisfaction that only social media surfing can bring!

Ciao.

P.S. The thumbnail images of a scantily clad Kim Kardashian that appear in this post are no accident. Nay! I am exploiting her glorious visage for monetary gain. Hey, I mean, isn't it about time KK did something USEFUL? Always like to facilitate empowering women...

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