The attention merchants

The harvesters of human attention

Hi there,

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 can’t seem to escape it. One minute I was making dinner blissfuly, and the next minute I’m checking Instagram and the world is ending? That’s another thing about the Internet; cute cat videos and horrifying news co-exist only a scroll away from one another. That can’t be good for our psyche…

Below are five things I thought were worth sharing this week:

  1. Another short article on the attention economy. This week, it’s all about the attention merchants, the harvesters of human attention. Attention merchants sell access to people's minds for a price to advertisers. They create platforms — newspapers, radio, TV, websites, apps — that profit by selling the attention they capture in exchange for the “free” content they produce. It all started in 1830s with The New York Times.

  2. I’m on track with my #52booksin52weeks challenge and just finished The Authenticity Project, a novel by Clare Pooley. If you’re looking for a warm, witty, and charming tale about the rewards of revealing oneself, warts and all, check it out. Some things are worth our attention.

  3. It’s 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 for this week’s what I have watched. A 10-minute entertaining breakdown of insta-scam.

  4. A quote I’ve been pondering:"If you’re not paying for a product, you are the product." More accurately, our attention is the product. Free isn’t always free after all.

  5. 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’s all for this week!

Thank you for reading, and please tell a few friends if you’d like.

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Until next time… :)

Mehret


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