Daily Post 1451
SOCIAL MEDIA – AN ATTENTION EXTRACTION ECONOMY
While we have been busy doing our work with earnestness for measly sums of money, proving our professional worth at every turn and twist of life, the IT behemoths of today, more so the social media variety, relentlessly kept on creating an Attention Extraction Economy. Most of us would not have heard of this term, even the experts of either technology or economics, but the harsh reality is that they are ruling the roost. Hundreds of billions of dollars are made by algorithms doing the calling and that too at the expense of their work, study and what not. They have transformed the planet in a manner unimaginable and one can safely say that if anybody would be visiting the earth after 15 years, he would find it to be completely indistinguishable.
”Attention is a resource – a person has only so much of it.” Matthew Crawford summed it most aptly. Attention economy has been in vogue for quite sometime, multiple billboards at a street corner compete for people’s attention. From street corner distribution of brochures to digital billboards in floodlit stadiums to TV jingles to model celebrities, it has been a desperate attempt to get the eye balls and as far as possible keep hanging on to it. It was very difficult to make it happen and even best of the campaigns could not generally deliver beyond max a season. Maintaining sales has been a challenge for any business, exponential business growth, the social media way has been unheard of. The IT industry too had grown in the same manner with hardware / software, known products and customers and the like.
The transformation from the attention economy to the attention extraction economy has been the biggest business success of our times. The business model has been the most innovative in history and rightly so it facilitated the creation of highest valued companies of all times. If you were the puppeteer of an infinite number of puppets which had sold their heart, mind and conscience to you and were ready to learn on their own to keep improving their performance, life could not have been better. Translate the same to human beings and you will get the answers. Added to that somebody is ready to pay you handsomely to every movement of the puppets. These are advertisers of the free social media economy.
Attention Extraction Economy is the capability of a social media product to keep you tied to it, even at the cost of your own welfare, creating a make believe world of appreciation, compliments & likes, living his life in an echo chamber. The flow of dopamine dictates the trends in this business. It needs to be always on the high. The rarefied atmosphere of social media becomes the real world. It develops its nuances, lingo, pics, mannerisms and you are in a way forced to live by it. The world around you doesn’t make a difference. Every single movement can be predicted and so does the feelings. The creators of this mesmerising business don’t let their own children use it. Beyond a stage, it’s over to algorithms. Human mind gives way. Attention is fully extracted for the pecking order of the advertisers. You are a product.
IF YOU HAVE NOT WATCHED THE SOCIAL DILEMMA (Netflix), YOU SHOULD NOT USE THE SOCIAL MEDIA.