the attention war

We hear a lot about the attention economy these days. The basic idea: our attention is a scarce resource and various actors are all competing for it in the marketplace.

This push and pull of attention sits well inside the metaphor of an economy, but I've been wondering lately if war fits the landscape better.

First, thinking about the competition for our attention through the lenses of economics can obfuscate the harms perpetrated and the manipulative tactics used by the actors who want our attention. If it's just a marketplace of attention, then all they're doing is vying for your share. The reality is much more odious.

Second, viewing the landscape as one of war instills the right mindset for those caught in the crossfire. Invading forces want to not just have our share of attention, they want to own it. The war of attention is a battle over resources: who gets to dominate, where and when.

We have to defend our territory (our attention) appropriately.

I may explore this topic more in future posts, but what I'm left with this line of thought: Now that I know that I'm in a war, what should change? Where have I lost ground? What tactics does the enemy use? How can I respond appropriately? Can we win?