The attention economy

April 1st 2016

If your daily commute isn’t filled with trivial things like watching the road and trying not to kill people you suddenly have a lot more time to search — and be served search ads. Building a self driving car may seem like extreme measures just to free up people’s time, but it’s really just the tech equivalent of fracking — Oil’s extreme attempt to unlock untapped reserves.

First: I strongly disagree with the author's conclusion in this post (tl;dr: Facebook should charge users for the service and pay people to produce great content). I think that the post was painting a compelling picture right up until this proposal, so for now I'll choose to focus on everything leading up to that point:

It is mind-blowing the strategies that are being taken by corporations to free people's time and convert it into eyeballs and attention and ad dollars. I don't think anyone would deny that this is our world and it's happening.

So my question to you is this: what will you do with the extra time that startups and tech companies are working so hard to set free? Is it more time to read Twitter, or more time to build that side project you've been dreaming about?

We all have a choice in how to spend our free time - I personally find it liberating and empowering to know that so many corporations value my time enough that they'll invent the craziest things to get more of it. But that extra time will be mine, not theirs.

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