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    Attention Activist | 5 min
    49 reads19 comments
    9.6
    Attention Activist
    49 reads
    9.6
    You must read the article before you can post or reply.
    • Jessica1 week ago

      The victim mentality is dangerous because it provides us an excuse to give up. Being entirely at the mercy of the big machine is a convenient story to tell yourself as you throw in the towel.

      Ah those lines spoke to me. It’s always easy to blame a large system, corporation, machine, etc. Yet behind these systems are human faces making decisions and running the show. We, too, are people who can make our decisions.

      “The struggle lies in the seemingly mundane moments of your everyday life”

      • dukie41 week ago

        I disagree. The false difference between “victim mentality” and “empowerment” here is actually hiding a distinction between an individualistic mentality (what can I do to protect myself?) and a collectivist mentality (what can we do to protect ourselves?). Individual problems are small and appear more easily solvable than large, complex collective problems. Why lobby for change nationally when I can change the notifications on my phone and declare victory? Either one obviously does not preclude the other, but they do tend to go together — especially because when people take on a big collective commitment, they are likely to take the small steps to realize it in their own lives. The opposite is not the case. Making tiny lifestyle changes can give us the illusion of having done something about a pressing issue and stop us from doing the long hard work of changing our society in any way we can. The people most engaged about this issue are also those most likely to be those monitoring their own phone use. This article is based largely on a straw man argument and gives only the illusion of new insight.

      • bill
        Top reader of all timeScoutScribe
        1 week ago

        Yep!

    • joshw1 week ago

      ok i’ll play the devil’s advocate with this question: the freedom you’re offering The Connected...is that what they really want? studies show that the brain cannot distinguish real from virtual. same chemicals in the same quantity whether it’s a real friend or a virtual one you’re interacting with, etc. so even if you think it’s unhealthy and capitalistic and immoral, in the end aren’t you actually trying to get people to do something they don’t want to do? even with the drug intervention analogy, you can’t really do much if they don’t want help.

      p.s. this is from someone who pre-ordered the Mudita Pure phone so don’t lynch me. looking forward to your responses.

      • SEnkey
        ScoutScribe
        1 week ago

        Charles Murray has a similar though experiment. Imagine we create a machine that you can hook up to and create your own virtual world where you can adventure, eat, sleep, etc and it is real to you. Real joy, real excitement, real sadness and struggle. Would it be okay to let people hook up to the machine? Would you hook up? His response is NO! Because there is something immoral about rejecting the humanity of others but not connecting with some of them and not seeking our full potential and seeking it in such a way that we benefit the rest of humanity.

        There is nothing 'wrong' about zoning out on social media or our phones. But, for many of us, we will feel better and our communities will be better if we connect in more meaningful ways. And if we spend our time in more valuable activities which could include walks in the woods or reading poetry or just enjoying the sunshine.

        • joshw1 week ago

          interesting questions, but it dodges the ones I asked, SEnkey. whether or not I would hook up, or would let other people hook up, to that imaginary virtual machine is irrelevant. we already know that some people can say, "hey it would be healthier and better for humans and communities if some or all of us did thus and so." that's nothing spectacular. with social media, it's not an imaginary virtual machine; it's an actual virtual universe that already exists and contains billions of minds. so the relevant question is: now that people are already hooked up, who are you to say that people should unhook if they think they are happy? I mean, to be clear, I agree that we could all stand to use a ton more self-awareness in our usage of the internet altogether! I also think that much of the time people think they are happy but lack awareness so much that they don't even really know what happiness is or looks like for themselves. but when it comes to telling other people to get off social media or turn off notifications etc, and trust me I have tried, the reactions I get do make me wonder if there is actually anything that could convince someone who is "happy with their social media usage" that it's unhealthy.

          I just wonder what it would actually take to have a bunch of self-aware and healthy and respectful people interacting together globally online, still spending time in nature, spending time offline, not being addicted, but not being luddites either. would it take a convincing argument? would it take a global event like an EMP? would it take supercapitalism where like Bezos and Zuckerberg become the rulers of the planet and are worth a few quadrillions while everyone else has nothing? what do you imagine it would take?

    • Pegeen
      Reading streakScribe
      3 weeks ago

      Very sane, balanced writing about taking responsibility for the attention economy in our own lives. Taking responsibility is empowering because it literally means we are “able to respond”. “The victim mentality is dangerous because it provides an excuse to give up.”

      • Karenz
        Scribe
        1 week ago

        Fantastic article. I especially appreciate the advice about being in nature on a walk with no earbuds! I walk my dog three times a day and love hearing the birds and noticing the trees turning to red and gold. Readup HAS been fantastic in getting me back reading intelligent articles like this one!

        • SEnkey
          ScoutScribe
          1 week ago

          I agree on the value of ReadUp. It also helps me find stuff I would never read myself but really enjoy.

    • sjwoo1 week ago

      Uninstall the Facebook app from your phone. You can still visit the mobile version every so often. Just getting the FB app off your phone will do wonders.

      • SEnkey
        ScoutScribe
        1 week ago

        This is great advice.

    • bill
      Top reader of all timeScoutScribe
      4 weeks ago

      Yes!! Watching The Social Dilemma was a powerful experience for me. Overall definitely positive, but also conflicted. This is the article I've been hoping to read. Jay and I see eye to eye on almost all of this stuff.

      Everyone needs to look within and the work is hard and deep and personal. Theres no pill we can take and no law thats going to save us. WE need to save us.

      • jeff
        Top reader this weekReading streakScoutScribe
        1 week ago

        The critiques in this article couldn't have been more on point. And it's way less mean than what I would have written which is definitely the way to go. What we really need is a Contrapoints video on the attention economy.

        • bill
          Top reader of all timeScoutScribe
          1 week ago

          Oh man - Contrapoints on "Attention" would be so damn good. She'd have so much personal material to dig into, which is when she's at her best.

      • Florian
        Top reader this weekReading streakScribe
        4 weeks ago

        Pulling away from greedy apps only to get sucked back in is all part of the process. It can help to search out and support new platforms serving up presence, authentic connection, and depth (they’re out there).

        I’m typing this in one of them right now

        • bill
          Top reader of all timeScoutScribe
          3 weeks ago

          Yeah man. This community is legit fixing social media.

    • bartadamley
      Top reader this week
      2 weeks ago

      Great piece, was happy to see that this one is bumping it's way back up our standings. Well deserved for an Article of the Day, as this topic of extractive tech continues to pervade its way into the public conversation.

      In some ways, we are indeed victims of the attention economy. But we are not powerless. We are the shepherds of this natural resource called ‘attention’. Our biological instincts are being hijacked to addict us, but the last thing we need is more fear, shame and guilt.

      The recognition that at the end of the day we still do have the choice to respond to the issue with addictive tech as an individual... and that our most valuable resource in this day and age is attention. Sure, we can consume media... but find a constructive way to go about this.

      ^ a way in which you are able to reflect on your feelings on a given topic. So cheers to social media which gives individuals the chance to be reflective. *Readup ;)

    • TripleG
      Top reader this weekReading streak
      3 weeks ago

      Let’s all support and promote platforms with authentic connection and depth like READUP!!