I fell down when I posted this diagram. I should really have written a brief explanation. I’ll restrict myself to describing the main loops. Of course you can substitute whatever it is you’re supposed to be doing instead of blogging for “schoolwork effort” in the diagram:
- B1: “Oh crap” As schoolwork effort decreases, guilt increases, leading eventually to more schoolwork effort.
- B2: “Burnout” As schoolwork effort increases, boredom increases, which decreases schoolwork effort.
- B3: “Waste time” As boredom increases, web surfing increases, which leads to an increase in blogging effort, decreasing schoolwork effort.
- R1: “Show off” As schoolwork effort increases, intellectual curiosity increases, spawning original ideas and increasing blogging effort… this gets eyeballs and leads to more blogging. (This may be either a balancing or reinforcing loop, I’m not sure.)
- R2: “Addiction” This is the simplest closed loop. As you put more effort into your blog, you eventually get eyeballs. This feels like a reward and encourages you to put in more effort.
The last loop is the most vicious. It’s why I had to stop looking at my referer logs; I wasn’t doing much schoolwork any more, I was blogging so much.