While most of us are familiar with the song by Charlie Puth – the American singer, the concept of attention can have cardinal upshots on all of our lives. You wake up and check your phone first thing in the morning to know how many reactions your last photo got. After going to your office, your boss expects you to prioritize his unrealistic targets over your innovative plans. Unknowingly, you, we, everyone is trading, and we are all trading in what we call the attention economy.
If you are not amicable with how basic economics notions work, you at least know that there’s supply and there’s demand. When you have a hundred customers but two hundred pieces of product, it’s likely that the rest hundred unsold products would be excess supply. Similarly, when you have a hundred customers but just fifty products to sell, the rest fifty customers would be allotted in the squad of excess demand.
Correspondingly, there’s supply of attention, and there’s demand for attention. We live in the era where food is delivered faster than emergency, where the digital world is more pragmatic than the real world, where love is extinct, and where advertisers strive for attention. Facebook wants you to be more addicted to the lives of other people over your own, Netflix wants your attention to tell you what happens in the next episode, Amazon wants your attention to let you know about the new collection of watches there are, you want attention to let the world know about your latest relationship status. You give your attention to Facebook, and Facebook acts as the intermediary, by giving you the attention of other people you follow. In simple words, there’s trading of attention.
In this era of trading attention where content marketing is gradually beginning to flourish, you’re interested to know the next punchline in the video, and YouTube will ask for a few more seconds of your attention, just so they can trade it with the advertisers who will say ‘You can skip ad in 25 seconds’. But you earn an equal amount of attention every single day, and the amount is, 24 hours. You spend it like you want to spend it, so you don’t mind watching ten more advertisements, but you still have to know the next joke in the video. That, my friend, is trading.
Leave advertisers for now, let’s talk about modern relationships. Loyalty is like a rare fossil, and many people would choose attention over genuine love. It does not matter how many years he strained to make you stay, you’ll let a third soul give you the attention you require while ‘he’s’ not there. It does not matter how much devoted he is to you, you might let a third soul hold your hand and make you feel special. Let’s admit it, we all want attention.
Working in a digital media firm, I crave attention too; I want people to click on my article once they see the shared link on Facebook. I want to collect all the attention, and then sell it to the highest bidder for my banner ads. I’m a digital media firm, and Netflix is a streaming service; despite operating on two different industries, we are battling for the same currency – attention. Advertising would fund free content in the near future, applications will compete for attention, and people still have to spend time wisely out of the 24 hours they have per day. I guess I’d be guilty of confessing to my visitors, I just want attention, I don’t want your heart.