“There’s a myth that time is money. In fact, time is more precious than money. It’s a nonrenewable resource. Once you’ve spent it, and if you’ve spent it badly, it’s gone forever.”
~ Neil A. Fiore
Good morning Go-Getters!
Have you ever noticed that we tend to check our phones approx. 150 times per day? Most of them unconsciously, just to see what notifications our little pocket slot machine has rolled out this time.
Did that catch your attention? Let me tell you more.
At this very moment, you are participating in the attention economy. You’ve chosen to come and read my blog, for which I’m grateful. However, our interaction, although free of charge (not counting internet and electricity bills), still costs you something. That something is your attention.
In fact, everything in the cyberspace demands your attention. Here, along with other 2 billions of other minds, we restlessly look for information that will entertain, inform, excite or outrage us. As Tristan Harris says, it’s like a slot machine.
But what if I told you that it is designed that way on purpose?
There are three major players in the attention economy, and they have more influence over our lives than any other media. Those players are Google, Facebook and Apple Inc. Like good trickers, they give us everything we want and like. Most of the time for free. What they get in return is our attention, the main ingredient for success in today’s world.
But don’t get me wrong here. I’m not saying that these corporations, along with other key stakeholders in the attention economy, are evil. All they do is create great products. You can’t really blame an excellent baker for baking a delicious pie that you cannot resist, can you?
It’s good to have great products, and we like to think that it enhances our lives. But what if it involves brain-jacking? Is that entirely ethical? Personally, I believe that there are plenty of improvements to be made.
Essentially, it all boils down to this: if you’re not paying for the product – it’s very likely that you are the product.
But why do I bother to write this? Wouldn’t it be better for me if you just consumed my content, with no questions asked?
I think that you, your friends or family should be aware of this. Attention is the single most important scarce resource that we have. Therefore, you should use it wisely. As Napoleon Hill wrote:
“You either control your mind or it controls you”
Little did he know that in the future there will also be third parties that actively try to that for you. However, it’s our responsibility to take care of ourselves. All that we are is the result of all that we thought. If you control your attention, you control your life.
I could go on and on for hours, but I doubt this text could send a better message than one of my favorite emerging YouTube creators – Will Schroder. In this video essay, he explains the basic concept of the attention economy, what it means for you and what can happen to make it more bearable for our minds. Like most of his videos, it’s a real masterpiece. Enjoy.
Now that you’re enlightened, the question is, what you’re going to do next? Check your Facebook feed? Or that smartphone notification?
Let me know in the comments or send a message to firstname.lastname@example.org.