Kevin Hogan

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How to Explain PreManipulation to a 12 year old

“You sign on to your Instagram account. You had lost your phone for almost two days and felt so happy when you found it today! You immediately look at your notifications. No one liked your last post! How do you feel?

“Let me guess. You feel hurt. You feel rejected. You wonder WHY and HOW this could possibly be?”

“The need you feel to ‘be liked’ is called addiction.

“Now imagine you sign onto Instagram and you see a bunch of friends that have liked your last post. Now you scroll through your friends recent posts that appear and you refuse to like ANY of them, for ONE WEEK, even though your friends are liking your posts. How do THEY feel? Take your time and tell me everything they feel. Now, tell me how do you feel about that?! What is going to happen to the friendship? Do you still feel part of their world? Worse, do they feel you care about their feelings?”

PreManipulation is that simple total need or addiction to being manipulated. Manipulated means someone is telling you how to feel or think, either in words or with their behaviors. This is true online and in the real world. Believe it or not, it is a fairly new experience in life for the majority of the population of the planet. People have always wanted approval from certain people and have not cared about approval from other people. Not everyone lives in a state of PreManipulation, all day long. For some it might only happen at church or at home or online, or with a friend. One thing is certain. It is an incredible compulsion and you can decide for yourself what you think about your life in and out of PreManipulation.

Here’s how:

When you go to Tik Tok, Instagram, Facebook, and so on you have expectations of what you want to have happen. You want to see your friends, see people doing stupid things, funny things, cute things, sexy things. If you see the things you want to see you feel good because chemicals in the brain make you go from sadness, anxiety, to feeling good in some way. Maybe happy.

Your friends know you will like/heart their meme, post, image, whatever and you know they will see that like. They will look to see if your like is there, or not. If not, you don’t feel so good. You know feel anxious as to WHY your friend didn’t like YOUR post yesterday and now today they wonder why YOU didn’t like their post today.

You both expect each other to like each other’s posts. Liking it reassures you that you have posted something funny enough, cute enough, smart enough to be “liked.” But you often wonder when the like or heart is missing, it’s not there if that means they don’t like YOU. This causes you to feel very nervous and later sad and anxious if that like doesn’t show up.

How Social Media Manipulates You

Instagram literally “knows” what you need to have liked and what you are likely to like that is posted by someone else. They aren’t reading your mind. They run your brain. Instagram shows you all kinds of stuff you want to see and you don’t have to ask for it. “Instagram, please show me…” is not necessary.

After you like or skip past someone’s post they know that for some reason you did or didn’t like it. After liking or skipping past 1000 posts they know more about your behavior than you do yourself. Are you liking the person or the post? Some people are more likely to like anything by their “good friends” and others only like posts they agree with. Some will like something to make you feel good. Others will not like something to make a point, AT you. “You were a jerk to me this week and I sure am not going to like anything you post.”

Next: The Power of Influencers

Page 2

At some point shortly after you get into your favorite social media app you begin to say advertising messages. “Buy this!” But they don’t really say that. They show someone you like, or someone you would like showing you what they are doing. Playing a video game, using a certain kind of deodorant, wearing a certain kind of shoes, driving a certain kind of car. Typically there is no “Buy this now” message. It’s more subtle than that, sort of.

Often you see a flashing arrow pointing at an angle to go somewhere else or to another page where you go deeper into that person’s world. You see how many people follow this person and you liked their message/meme/image so it’s pretty obvious that it makes sense for you to go here.

The Power of Influencers

You become part of the group of thousands (maybe millions) watching the Influencer. You might interact with them by messages. No matter how subtle or direct the communication is, you have been taken to a message that wasn’t really in your stream. You had to click out of your stream and now you are looking at something that is either about connecting you to their bee hive of followers, or about buying something their bee hive of followers buys. It could be something as simple as leading you further to sign up for what looks like a cool video game.

When you do SPEND money while on Tik Tok, not only does the influencer get paid, Tik Tok gets paid. If you’re on Facebook, you might see a “Sponsored Ad.” Click on it and Facebook is paid by the Influencer whether you buy the product, game, whatever, whether you buy it or not.

If you do happen to join the group, download the video game, enter the online game and spend money then of course the Influencer AND Facebook both make money.

And Tik Tok took you right to them in less than one minute.

Tik Tok is so damn smart that you LIKED 10 things before you got to this chance to spend your money or commit your time to a game or a person or whatever. THIS is one of the thousands of places Tik Tok wanted to take you. Your Hearts simply told Tik Tok to keep you clicking Heart as they determined where you were most likely to spend money.

Tik Tok pays some influencers to simply be on their platform. Why? Because they know you will love them and they know you will want to be like them and everyone will see you are part of their group. You’ll even share their page with your friends bringing more and more people to them!

 Tik Tok pays other influencers when people buy what they are selling today. Maybe it’s underwear or earrings. It could be rings or shirts. It could be literally, anything.

And of course it’s not just about this but the Coca Cola people are happy to pay influencers to simply keep the name Coca Cola out there in front of the world. 

But the company that is selling the Pen wants you to buy it today of course. They pay the influencer to sell their stuff.

There is nothing illegal about any of this.

You simply KNOW this is what is going to happen when you go on the platform.

By entering the world of Instagram you like it so much that you check it more often than your parents check on you. You spend more time on Instagram than you talk to any human on the planet.

And if you couldn’t be parts of these groups that also own this beautiful Pen, you’d feel left out and you’d resent it. And sometimes you have to be invited into these groups making it much more important to you when you are accepted.

Because influencers KNOW that you will resent the influencer or group,  if you are left out, they make it clear that they don’t say yes to everyone. 

Sometimes you really don’t get into the group because having you would make the group look bad. That’s a crummy feeling. It creates anxiety, nervousness, fear of rejection by others. How will you feel if everyone got accepted except you?

Turn the page…

You have basically demanded to be manipulated to join groups, to have likes on your posts, to see hearts on your memes, to send memes that you think others receiving them will  like them and that will make you look good, smart.  So you have to choose carefully what to share, and what you post. 

The important thing to remember is you chose to go to Instagram today and you expected all of these things to happen and you were going to be there until you felt “good enough” or “bad enough” to leave.

PreManipulation is the addiction to needing to be manipulated. A mouse in a maze searching for food with different obstacles and rewards along the way. 


Imagine that they wouldn’t let you on Tik Tok or Instagram. Imagine a page pops up that says, “Sorry you aren’t welcome here.”

You’d freak out. So would all your friends if they saw that message on the page.

You demand to be taken by the hand through the maze to like and heart your way through the maze and feel the rush of the hearts and likes you get, along the way.

If you don’t get very many likes or hearts you know you are in the wrong group. You desperately want at least 10 or 50 or some number of likes. If you don’t get those likes you feel bad and you know that you are probably telling Instagram by the likes that you give out to others, that they don’t want to heart you in return. That hurts.

The need to be manipulated, the need to be chained to the app as it takes you through the maze is a powerful need. 

But what if you are a Democrat (or Republican)? You don’t want to see stuff that says how great the other group is, true? You know they (the other group) is filled with idiots. If you do see something about them it better be saying how stupid or evil they are. THAT you will like. You can fall in love with hatred.

That means you can love to hate and that is why over the last few years these groups like democrats and republicans (conservatives or liberals) have drifted further apart. They used to just not like each other all that much. Today they hate each other.

And because hate is now the proof that you do NOT belong to the hated group which means you are RIGHT, you can see how easy it is for the world to be splitting into two parts. There is often disagreement about what to believe and think if you are part of a group, but for the hated group, you just hate EVERYTHING they think and believe.

Tik Tok doesn’t take you into that group. Instagram protects you from being anywhere near the hated groups. And you demand it simply by liking or not what you pass through in your stream.

The world of PreManipulation has seeped out of your phone and into your real world around you. People don’t just hate inside Facebook. They now hate outside Facebook. They now hate more in the real world. That hate means you need new ways to navigate the real world. It doesn’t mean you want to be part of the evil group or the wrong groups, whichever you have determined those to be. 

Influencing people is necessary in life. A baby cries for food and a diaper change as well as the gas in her stomach. A child “come on Mom, pllleeeaaasseee can’t I go tonight?” Everyone is influencing, or trying.

And now because Mom has opinions about certain groups that are different than your opinions about that group, there are now more problems in families. 

Think about it. Have you ever blocked a relative or real life friend?

Of course you have. 

The person who learns how to persuade others to their way of thinking has an advantage in the world of preManipulation. That person is not seen as the enemy. As much as you want to be persuaded, you also want to persuade others for all kinds of reasons. Most of them are good.

And that’s where the book  PreManipulation begins.

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