Attention Economy

I’d quibble with much of

this nettime post by Prem Chandavarkar

, but I entirely agree with the focus on attention as a scarce resource which is becoming perhaps the main target of capital:

If we are in the information age, the

one thing that information consumes is attention, and consequently

attention becomes a scarce resource. As an economy is substantively

affected by those resources that are scarce and important, our lives

are now being affected by the quest for attention.

The scarcity of attention is exacerbated by the changing nature

of alienation (as defined by Baudrillard). Alienation was earlier

characterized by distance – a separation from the normal routines of

life. But it is now characterized by an overwhelming proximity to

everything. The construction of sheltered spaces for reflection, which

were provided by the regular routines of life, are now difficult to

come by, and require substantive and sustained effort that few are

willing to devote effort to in an attention starved world. Deprived of

space for reflection, we face the challenge of being “reduced to pure

screen: a switching centre for the networks of influence”.

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