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The Attention Economy

Before big tech captured our attention, we wanted to be paid for creating content for someone, especially if that content drove more users to a platform. But what happens now? We're promised engagement, likes, and attention for creating content on big social media platforms. They not only take it and drive more engagement with OUR content, but also collect and sell off our personal data to line their own considerably full pockets.


Those likes, snaps, streaks, and whatever little rewards your platform of choice throws out for engagement - this is the currency of the attention economy. Those rewards tap into our brain's natural reward system and promote a cascade of Dopamine release - an important neurotransmitter. This makes us feel good temporarily. It's why we feel a rush when we receive some engagement on these big social platforms and why we keep going back for more. Those same parts of our brains are also similarly engaged when cocaine is used or when we play the slot machines.

Social media is all about getting us hooked, addicted, and distracted from what's important in our lives. Even the former Vice President of Facebook has admitted his enormous guilt about all this.

Hedonic Adaptation

In Psychology, there's a concept called Hedonic Adaptation - the ability to return to our individual natural level of happiness despite life's ups and downs. When we experience a stimulus, like the steady stream of notifications indicating someone likes our photo on social media, we feel good. But the rush is short-lived, and the problem is that, just like cocaine users, the next stimulus needs to be more intense for us to feel the same level of reward. It's a vicious cycle that keeps us going back for more, but never creates sustainable happiness and well-being.

All of it makes us feel a bit empty inside, as though we should be feeling happy, but we're not quite getting there. The result is a society of people addicted to digital engagement. And one of the worst parts of it is that it's deliberate - the owners of these money making tech giants are using our own neural wiring against us. This creates greater levels of chronic stress, unhappiness, and division in our communities. And all this so that some greedy tech giants can mine our data and generate enormous wealth and power.