August 30, 2022 – Wordle is a fun game that brings me happiness and contentment every day.
Except when you are a stupid waste of time. Like the day my streak ended, six games under 100. I didn’t see the point of a silly word puzzle that doesn’t contribute anything to the common good.
I mean really. I have better things to do. But I still play it every day.
It’s not just me. Ask Jackie Silverman, an assistant professor of marketing at the University of Delaware who studies “Judgments and Consequences of Repetitive Behaviors.”
She is a calligrapher. And that’s a hot field right now – and the proof is on your phone. “Lines are very prevalent in people’s lives,” she says.
Font is among the most obvious and addictive ways for a company to lure us back to their website. Apps like Snapchat and Duolingo (a language-learning company) use font maintenance like boss, and Wordle isn’t slow.
But streaks can also be useful and healthy, for example for people trying to get back in shape or lose weight. “Streets can be a tangible signal of progress,” says Caitlin Woolley, a professor of marketing at Cornell University who studies goal pursuit and motivation.
Of course, there are apps just for building and tracking fonts: Habitify, Streakster, Streaks, Loop, Productive, over and over again. Its clear purpose is to encourage healthy habits. “The lines provide a sense of momentum, which is motivating,” Woolley says. “People feel like they’re on their way, and psychologically, that makes it easier to keep going.”
Silverman says streaks can help throughout life — in education (attendance, test scores, reading books) and the workplace (arriving on time, for example, or making every meeting). She points out that factories proudly post signs of how many days have passed without incidents.
In fact, the temptation of a whole streak is inherent in the depths of the human psyche. How can we take advantage of that to help us, without derailing completely when a streak ends, inevitably?
“People find the strips to be inherently valuable and motivating,” says Silverman, who owns the receipts. She and Alexandra Barach co-authored a study titled On or off the track: How (broken) lines affect consumer decisionspublished in June in Consumer Research Journal.
What they found is that telling people — and reminding them — that they have a streak makes them more likely to stay in the streak. Recording and tracking add fuel to these wildfires, she says: “Posting those lines across records and technology has a huge impact.” (Even old-school check marks on your wall calendar can work, she says, although comments from others generally carry more weight.)
In their experiments—word games, digital games, and exercise programs—they found that people were so devoted to maintaining the life line that they would rather keep playing rather than switch to something that gives them more fun.
If their streak ends, they’ll agree to watch an ad when they’re told it’s “fixing” their streak.
Duolingo knows this. It will allow the customer to maintain his streak by using his virtual currency (“gems” and “lingots” gained through completing lessons) to purchase “line freeze“If they knew they would miss a day.
Snapchat has countless teens who are addicted to Snapstreaks, which means you’ve exchanged Snaps with someone on consecutive days. A “shoot” icon appears, with a number indicating the days the Snapstreak streak was in progress.
You can feel the grief of a young user on the “I’ve lost my Snap streak” page in Snapchat Support: “If you’ve lost a Snap and know you sent a Snap (not a chat) back and forth within 24 hours, please let us know.”
The power of symbols
“Fire, check marks, coins, linguistics—it’s all part of the psychological play,’ says Silverman. “People really appreciate the codes and feedback about what they’ve done,” she says. Sometimes the desire to acquire tokens becomes more important than whatever prompted them to start the streak in the first place, she says.
Tokens “behave almost like money, in terms of being an external reinforcer. It feels like a currency, like you’re accumulating some credit, some value,” says Jordan Atkin, professor of marketing at Duke University.
For me, the numbers on my Wordle stats page, which were all heading to 100: games played, percentage won, current streak, max streak. It would have looked great The stats and the “Guess Distribution” bar graph popped into my mind like a judicious assessment of my language skills.
This is a very emotional reaction to a bunch of pixels, right? But the whole thing is emotional, including feeling drowned out when my streak ended. I was depressed, depressed, desperate.
Silverman told me there’s another “D”—frustrating. It was true: I wasn’t interested in playing the next day (although I did), and the next time I lost a match, I was a lot less interested. So skip a day, wander off, and ignore it.
When a line breaks, Silverman says, “it’s especially frustrating because people interpret that as a failure on purpose.”
I felt like a failure, especially since I had previously bragged to my friends how close I was to a 100-game series.
Here’s another reason we love stripes: They’re a way to show off. Sharing results is a form of status reference, Aitken says: “You feel like you look good to others.”
It’s set! (For the record, I only shared my accomplishments and failures with those close to me. My wife was having fun.)
But while the broken streak feels like your progress has been “reset to zero,” it helps to remember that it’s not, says Woolley. “The tangible aspect of people tracking has been reset.” If your streak is disrupted in daily walking, your fitness will continue.
“This annoying aspect is what inspired our project,” Silverman says. She and her husband, a brewer aficionado, were at a brewery with friends, including Barach, an associate professor of marketing. Her husband noted that he hadn’t scored a piece of beer he had tried the previous weekend, as he usually did. His logging streak was broken, so he had no interest in cutting down a beer that day. “That’s weird,” Silverman and Barash said to each other, their paper the result years later.
How fonts can help
Speaking of drinking, Silverman notes that one of the most famous and valuable uses of the line mentality is among the members of Alcoholics Anonymous And Narcotics Anonymous. They earn medals marking milestones sobriety.
If you relapse, “it’s very difficult for them to go back to where they were,” she says. The organizations’ supportive mindset is impressive, she notes: “They support each other and say, ‘No, you won this chip.'” You have completed this line. You did it once and you can do it again. But just because you relapsed doesn’t mean it’s over.”
The encouraging approach can help reduce the frustration of a broken streak, Silverman says, “which would be really nice for marketers to try to incorporate it as well.”
do not hold your breath. Silverman says some friends who know about her research are now smarter. “They feel manipulated.” But she quickly adds that the streaks “are mostly there to help you. I don’t think it’s a problem, and I’m still sucked into the streaks.” COVID-19 broke her 150-week training streak, and she’s certainly been less motivated since then. “I need to get a new line.”
Fonts are attractive as a measure of progress, and therefore powerful, says Adam Alter, Ph.D., professor of marketing at New York University and author of Irresistible: The Rise of Addictive Technology and the Business of Keeping Us Hooked. As the length of the line increases, “Keeping him alive is more beneficial. Add these together, and you will have a powerful recipe for reinforcement and reward.”
For her part, Silverman still hopes her research may “help generate new ideas about how to keep people engaged and happy.”
One thing is constant: streaks mean money. New York times It bought Wordle for more than $1 million last fall from its developer Josh Wardle. In its first-quarter 2022 earnings release, the company said, “Wordle has brought tens of millions of unprecedented new users to times. The company had its best quarter ever for new subscribers in the gaming division. Digital subscription revenue was up 26%.
When Josh Wardle sold the game to timesHe told the fans, “I’m working with them to make sure the gains and streaks are maintained.”
He gets it.