We Are Living in an Economy of Attention
Economy of Attention
You can’t possibly go through a day without someone trying to sell you something. Unless you are a monk living on a mountain top or in a forest secluded from civilization and with no access to the internet. Ads are everywhere. They are present on the physical plane — billboards, posters, flyers, etc. But you simply cannot dodge them in the digital plane. You can try to avoid them using ad-blocking software. But that will just scratch the surface. Intentions to sell are hidden in plain sight. Almost every creator who publishes their content online is selling something. It can be courses, merchandise, e-books, or other products through affiliate marketing schemes. And it makes sense, everybody is trying to make a living. But what also comes out of this is — a constant battle for eyeballs.
Everyone is trying to reach a wider audience. The more people look at your content, the higher the possibility of making some money from it. And big tech companies surely know how to keep their customers engaged. It’s no longer like in the old days when a really good salesman could make you purchase something you actually didn’t need, and you realized it only later. These days you are not only up against humans but also against highly specialized algorithms financed and trained by the wealthiest corporations with loads of data about your online behavior. And it’s easy to fall into their attention trap that is designed to keep you as engaged as possible, to sell you as much as possible. To get the best out of the digital world you need to be mindful of your online habits.
Tool or a Distraction?
The internet and social media are intended to be used as tools for acquiring and sharing information and improving life quality. But it is not always the case. It is really easy to lose focus and fall victim to attention-capturing algorithms and get distracted from your goals. Many of us have found ourselves on YouTube at 3 am watching a random guy making a fancy dirt house with a stick. Or similar videos that have nothing to do with our original intent. Only to find ourselves disappointed about the lack of sleep and wasted time the very next morning. And it is not that rare, because the algorithms are very good at what they are designed to do — keep you engaged. And following action patterns like this long-term can only lead one way — downhill. It can even lead to depression.
But not all of it is bad. If you are mindful of your habits online, you can really improve your life in meaningful ways. Think about the ways you use social media. Does it improve your life quality? Or is it just a distraction, a waste of time? Do you really need to know what the content you are consuming will tell? Or are you just keeping yourself entertained?
Create > Consume
If you want to get the best from the digital plane. Use it as it was intended to be used. Use it as a tool that helps you shape your life into the life you always wanted to live. Put creating first. If you consume content be sure of why are you doing it. If it is to learn something, make sure to put the newly found information to use. You don’t need to know everything if you are never going to use the knowledge. There is so much content that is trying to teach you new skills and is also entertaining. Be sure to prioritize. Choose content that teaches you skills, you are gonna use. Skills that align with your goals. It’s ok to just relax and be entertained. But make sure you know that entertainment is what you are looking for at that moment and don’t blindly follow the algorithm and neglect your goals.
Become a content creator yourself. Take control of what’s out there. Help yourself, and help others. Put your goals first, don’t get lost in the neverending sea of content. Prioritize creating. It’s a Win-Win-Win. You learn you create, you earn and you help others.
My golden rule for my actions online is to always put creating first. That helps me be more mindful of what content I consume online. And allows me to keep on track with my goals!
Best of luck to all of you!