The Attention Market

Attention is the new currency.

Publishers, smartphone app creators, and journalists have one goal: to steal as much of your daily attention as they can. In exchange, they get money from companies that advertise on their content or directly sell a product or service. This environment creates a sort of stock market where people buy and sell your attention and attempt to redirect it in a profitable way.

Unlike the stock market, this attention market is completely unregulated.

There are very few rules, if any, that prevent companies from using deeply addictive psychological strategies to keep users coming back. Within that free market, with so many organizations competing for the attention of their users, the sketchiness of the methods to accomplish this seem to rise meteorically.

Every app you install now asks to send you notifications. Why on earth would most apps need to distract you from a conversation you’re having or a book you’re reading? Because they want more of your attention, more frequently.

Niche news sites create content that infuriates half of its audience and provides confirmation bias to the other. This causes both sides to share the post out of both boasting and what I might call the “can you believe this #$@%” share. Which, as discussed previously, wins the attention game and creates more ad revenue for the offending site.

Those sites don’t care who reads them and they certainly don’t care if you agree. They just want numbers and ad revenue and they’re succeeding.


Everything You’ve Ever Wanted

What if getting everything we wanted actually made us unhappy?

I believe that it does or at least that it can. It comes from the idea that the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence. No matter our situation we tend to view what we don’t have and see it in an idealistic way. Is it actually better over there? Probably not, but it gives us something to continually aspire to.

Life is indeed, a journey. There’s only one real destination and that’s when we’ve checked out for good.

So what would happen if we really did get everything we wanted?

I can only answer this question with another question: Is it getting the thing we want that makes us happy or the process that led up to getting it?

Perhaps both. It is the reward that caps a difficult journey towards acquiring something meaningful.

But, then what?

Whenever Amy and I make homemade pizza together, it always seems to taste better than anything we order. We’re no pizza artisans, though I am able to claim a ~52% Italian bloodline. Perhaps it is less about the pizza itself and more about the process, the anticipation, the hunger that builds as the dough rises in front of you.

In the end, it is the journey that we spend the majority of our lives on. Do we ever really want that journey to end? I don’t think so. At least, not until we’re old enough to feel we’ve done all that we want to do in life. I’m not sure if that’s a real thing, but I’ve read about it.


The Lyrics That Kicked Off A New Lifestyle

This may seem a little out of left field, but music has always been a big part of my life. I’ve enjoyed playing piano since age eleven, singing in various a cappella groups in high school and college, producing everything from hip-hop to blues, and beyond.


A Forgotten Mic Stand For The Better

One of the most memorable experiences of my life was a time in my early 20’s when I was working as an audio technician with my friend Pete. We were the sound engineers for an NCAA gymnastics semi-finals tournament at Crisler Arena in Ann Arbor, Michigan.