Have you ever heard of the Rorschach test? It’s also known as the “inkblot test”.
It’s where you put several ink blots on a piece of paper, fold it in half, open it again, and then look at the resulting image.
Depending on the end result of the inkblot, people will see different things, and psychologists use this method to analyze what’s going on in that person’s subconscious.
The reason why we can “see pictures” inside of abstract shapes is because people seek out familiarity. They get used to the patterns of life and they crave uniformity.
In the test, our brains look at the abstract and random image and begin to make mental pictures and associations. We’re wired to find patterns.
When you break patterns and molds, you cause a brief moment of discomfort. This can be used to your advantage.
Now imagine your morning routine is the same every day. You wake up, make coffee, put on the same shoes, take the same bus to work, watch the buildings pass by, and repeat it every day.
Then one day something changes. You realize your coffee beans aren’t in the same place. Your shoes were misplaced. Something’s different.
The routine is disrupted, and your brain is forced out of its mindless operation to actually think about a solution.
Intentionally Disrupt the Flow
People use social media the same way every day. They are used to the same patterns and procedures; muscle memory takes over as they slide through photos and double-tap to “favorite”.
When you break the pattern, there is a brief moment when your audience is forced to stop, if only for a second. The pattern is broken, which means you now have their attention.
I use social media differently depending on what I’m producing or consuming, but for the apps I consume on, it’s virtually unchangeable for me.
For instance, you may follow a lot of photographers on Instagram. A lot of the photos may start to look the same.
Imagine if one of those photographers posted a timelapse or a quick video of part of an interview. The flow would be disrupted, and you might pay more attention to that post.
A brief interruption to the mindless droning is all you need to capture the attention of your audience.
One of the best uses of social media is a counter-cultural approach that still fits within the scope of the platform.
Leverage the scope and functionality of the platform, but think creatively to determine how to set yourself apart.