Over the holidays, my brother pointed out a chat website called paltalk (www.paltalk.com). It is an interesting concept because in addition to live streaming chat rooms, many users have a webcam showing their live faces and voice online during the chat. My brother expressed excitement about chatting on a public chat room in paltalk and I wondered what made the chat part of it so exciting. Looking at this based on what we know about time, why should someone be inclined to visit websites to talk about random topics in public chat rooms?
I’ve hardly watched any TV for the past couple years because I haven’t had the time for it. I do remember one motive that gets people hooked on TV though. Sometimes people will watch TV because we feel like we might miss the opportunity to watch a show that might only be airing once. The TV becomes alive for viewers and TV viewers create a relationship with the broadcasted information such that they want to ‘be there’ when ‘it happens’. As always, design is not only what we put in, but what we leave out, and the inability for people to record programs contributed to influencing addictive behavior with broadcast television. That trend is changing with so many people recording programs and watching them online now, but it’s still important to ‘be there when it happens’ for events such as the Superbowl because the live experience cannot be reproduced.
Similarly, with paltalk, the live environment is such that being there during a discussion to talk to and see interesting people cannot be replicated exactly. Here, the ability to constantly have unrecoverable live interactive discussions contributes to enhancing the design because it serves as a motive to continue interacting addictively in fear of missing out. That’s even why some college students addictively log into facebook.