The idea that Facebook is a giant skinner-box designed to train us to share more and more has been around a long time. Recently, I have become hopelessly addicted to playing Candy Crush Saga on an iPhone - which takes the metaphor to a spooky new level of reality.

Candy Crush Saga is the most popular game on Facebook, and the game's developers King are the new Zynga. The user experience is very similar to that of a rodent inside a skinner-box, rewarded with pellets of food.

In this case, the 'user' (or rodent) is rewarded with delicious-looking, shiny candy pellets. In the Candy Crush skinner-box you get extra rewards for arranging the differently coloured, shiny food pellets in rows. When you get three, four or five of the same type of food pellets in a row they change form and explode and stuff. It makes you feel so good and you never want it to stop. You just want to stay in this box and play Candy Crush Saga for ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever. Like. Nothing. Else. Matters.

The (evil) genius iPhone app wants constantly to connect you to Facebook - so that you can share and connect with other players, but mostly so you can play more and more Candy Crush and access additional lives, buy 'candy charms' and 'boosters' using Facebook credits.

I have a [sock-puppet]( Facebook account, and I never use it for anything apart from testing stuff, because... well, because Facebook is a giant skinner-box. However, my resolve is slowly crumbling thanks to the Candy Crush Saga. For, no creature can resist the Candy Crush Saga.

Apolz for being so shallow.

Tim Malbon

Tim Malbon Founding Partner

Tim founded influential digital product design company Made by Many in 2007. He’s a leading voice in the emerging practice area of product design and innovation, customer experience and business strategy. He’s the Webby Awards UK Ambassador and a member of the IADAS, and was recently named by Creative Review as one of the 50 Creative Leaders "driving change, not just within their organisation but in the world at large."


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