Difference between revisions of "Attention"

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[[Category: Glossary]]
[[Category: Privacy]]
[[Category: Privacy]]

Revision as of 08:08, 30 October 2021

Full Title or Meme

For the commercial internet, the most valuable commodity is acquiring the Attention of the user's that are likely to spend money on whatever it might be that the commerce is selling.


  • Privacy is the right to be let alone as defined in the late 19th century. [1]
  • As long ago as the mid-1980s Michael Goldhaber's "epiphany was this: One of the most finite resources in the world is human attention. To describe its scarcity, he latched onto what was then an obscure term, coined by a psychologist, Herbert A. Simon: 'the attention economy.'"[2]
  • Most advertisers or influencers talk about trying to maximize the "eyeballs" that are focused on their offerings, but since the rise of podcasts it is better to focus on the user's Attention which is what will drive their actions.


Users are not (yet) attached directly to the internet. They are (nearly) all using a mobile computing device (a smartphone) to make a connection to the internet and some user agent to attach to the World Wide Web (WWW). Since the time of Netscape the preferred user agent was the web browser. In some countries (2020) the preferred user agent as become Facebook, which is now (2021) engaged in an existential effort to ensure the pipeline of emergent users continues to chose one or more of their platforms, such as Instagram. The insight here is not new, users are fickle. The hot new toy of this Holiday season is in short supply now, but will be forgotten in a year. Internet apps are not different. Facebook does not seem to understand, Google does. The user needs an agent that will be attentive to their current, shifting desire for distraction from boredom.


  1. Warren and Brandeis The Right to Privacy (1890-12-15) Harvard Law Review http://groups.csail.mit.edu/mac/classes/6.805/articles/privacy/Privacy_brand_warr2.html
  2. Charlie Warzel, The Internet Rewired our Brains., New York Times 2021-02-07. pp. R4-5.