Creative Strategy
March 5, 2021

Is there a difference when we change our mindset from protecting to giving our attention?

Open Reference

In our culture, it seems a lot of us get pulled into the trap of getting affirmation through online attention. And it's hard not to because the tools we use are intentionally designed to give us hits of feel-good dopamine, so we get addicted to attention. If not "addiction," then we end up with some nervous attention tick. (I may just be projecting here)

With so much of our culture and tech world wrapped up in gaining, stealing, and directing attention, people will often move from the default of looking at screens to a place of trying to protect their attention.

Protecting your attention is like holding on to sand; the harder you squeeze, the faster it moves.

I wonder if attention is a kind of outward moving force that we can't keep.
I wonder what happens when instead of trying to protect one's attention, we instead find ways to give it.

Living in an attention economy means a lot of the language we use is economic. We can "spend" or "invest" our attention. The largest companies make money by tracking views and watch time. But this means, like money, you can choose to "give" attention away.

It's harder at times because giving means you don't expect anything back directly. Of course, anyone who has given knows that there is great joy in giving. There is something genuinely human about giving.

Is there a difference when we change our mindset from protecting our attention to giving attention?

Is there value in designing things in a way that encourages giving attention?

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