Discover more from time spent offline
Value your attention
As much as Facebook values it
If I told you your attention is worth billions of dollars, would you believe me?
Five things to share:
In 2019, Instagram reportedly generated $20 billion in revenue, an extraordinary success for a photo-sharing app. That same year, Facebook made $70.9 billion. What exactly is a social networking app like Instagram or Facebook selling to generate such a staggering amount of profit? Attention. For such profit, the likes of Facebook and Instagram would do anything to keep us constantly scrolling on their apps and feeds, and offer their services for free in exchange for our attention. We pay the price in our collectively declining mental, physical, and social wellbeing. The solution? Value your attention as much as Facebook values it.
I’m finishing up Cathy O’Neil’s book, Weapons of Math Destruction: How Big Data Increases Inequality and Threatens Democracy. We live in the age of the algorithm. Most of our choices are increasingly influenced, manipulated, and shaped by Big Data. Weapons of Math Destruction is a critical insight into what happens when data is unregulated and uncontestable.
“Big Data” is one of those concepts we think we know what it means but don’t actually have a concise, working definition for it— a practical definition to use as a reference. Watch What Is Big Data? for a two-minute explanation of what Big Data is and how it works.
A quote I want to share with you this week:
Attention pays attention to a lot of things, but when attention pays attention to attention, then there is a stillness, and that stillness introduces you to yourself.
If you ever wonder what is worth paying attention to.
What Is Our Attention Really Worth? Our attention might be the most in-demand asset we have to offer. We could spend 100 percent of our attention online (all day, every day), and the internet would still serve up more clickbait begging for our attention. Given the value of our attention, shouldn’t we pay more attention to how we spend it? The goal is to pause for just a moment and ask what your attention is really worth.
That’s all for this week!
Thank you for reading, and please share with anyone you think may benefit.
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Until next time,