As Seth Godin pointed out in a recent podcast titled “What you pay for”, he says there is a reason it’s called “paying attention”. Throughout your day, you are selling your attention for something in return such as information, entertainment, or status.
The challenge we’re facing is that humans only have so much attention that they can sell each day. It replenishes the next day, but you never build up an extra amount to have on hand.
Because it has a ceiling, the value of your attention is going up, and companies are willing to pay more for it and organizations are racing to get more of it for themselves. This is why things like the Facebook algorithm are always being tweaked; they’ll do whatever they can to hold your attention just a little bit longer so they can sell more of that attention to the highest bidder.
Product –> Attention
They say that if you’re not paying for a product (like Facebook) then you are the product. The truth is actually a bit deeper than that; Facebook doesn’t want you, necessarily, they just want your attention.
At the end of the day, selling your attention can be a good thing. You’re selling some right now in reading this post, and I sold some to listen to Seth’s podcast. Last week I sold some attention at a few shows on Broadway. All were likely good uses of it.
Selling your attention is fine, but it’s good to be intentional about where it goes.
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