The Gangnam Style Problem: Incremental belief changes
The podcast Reply All introduced me to a “problem” in the eyes of YouTube engineers, which was nicknamed the Gangnam Style Problem. It goes like this.
If you visited YouTube, looked at a random video, and left your computer with autoplay on. Eventually, you’d land on Gangnam Style – the most popular video at the time. That’s because it would take you to videos that were ever more popular. And this was a problem for YouTube.
If you started on a video about “how to fix a leaky sink” the next video might have been “how to choose kitchen furnishings”. It would be more general, popular, and likely – disconnected from your beginning.
The solution to drive engagement was to flip the order. If you started on “why Alex Jones might have a point,” over time, you might end up on “how lizards took over every monarchy.” The next video you’d get would be more extreme. This was highly successful — if you only care about engagement.
Of course, I could write about why people measure the wrong things. But this post isn’t that.
This post’s point is: humans are very susceptible to being incrementally persuaded about an idea.
At some point, this needs to be built into my major hub post: why do people buy things?