The attention merchants
The harvesters of human attention
What a week! I quit the news back in 2016 for a purely selfish reason: To protect my sanity. Alas, the news is everywhere and I cannot seem to escape it. One minute I was blissfuly making dinner and the next minute I’m checking Instagram and the world is ending????? That is another thing about the Internet: Cute cat videos and horrifying news co-exist only a scroll away from one another— it cannot be good for our psyche…
Five things to share:
This week, it’s all about the attention merchants; the harvesters of human attention. Attention merchants sell access to people's minds to advertisers, for a fee. They create platforms— newspaper, radio, TV, websites, and apps— that profit by selling the attention they capture in exchange for the “free” content they produce. It all started back in 1830s with The New York Times.
I am on track with my #52booksin52weeks challenge and just finished The Authenticity Project, a novel by Clare Pooley. If you are looking for a warm, witty, and charming tale about the rewards of revealing oneself— warts and all— check it out! Some things, indeed, are worth our attention.
It is not often I find actually interesting content on YouTube anymore but I recently discovered D'Angelo Wallace’s channel and his social commentaries are golden. I picked instagram meme pages are running a black market to share with you this week: A 10-minute entertaining breakdown of insta-scam.
A quote I want to share with you:
If you’re not paying for a product, you are the product.
— The Social Dilemma
More accurately, our attention is the product. Free isn’t always free after all.
There’s a war for your attention. And you’re probably losing it. A conversation with Tim Wu, author of The Attention Merchants: The Epic Scramble to Get Inside Our Heads, on always being sold something by someone, and how we got here.
That is all for this week!
Thank you for reading, and please share with anyone you think may benefit.
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Until next time,