When did addiction become a good thing?

Originally posted on Gigaom:

I am a behavior designer. I take a deep understanding of human psychology and emerging research in the behavioral sciences to build products that change user behavior in planned and predictable ways. However, these days I’m somewhat dismayed by the persistent chatter about building “addictive” products. When did addiction become an admirable thing to cultivate?

As members of the tech industry, we need to ask serious questions about the behaviors that we are promoting. Are we really helping people live better lives? Or, are we promoting suboptimal habits and aptitudes? At best, many of the products we’re building are time wasters. At worst, they’re the addictive equivalents of cigarettes — irresistible cheap thrills that feel good in the moment, but are destructive in the long run. “Addictive” products are rampant in our lives — Facebook, Farmville (or any Zynga game), Twitter, Pinterest. The list goes on and on.

With Web products…

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Primarily interested in interacting and engaging with people about issues related to profession but also charity, environment, ... you get the idea.

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