“OMG! Is she for real?! I’ve gotta forward this so people can see just how many jerks there are!”
“Honey, please, you’re clueless when it comes to style! Whatever… This bag doesn’t match the shoes. I’m gonna like it anyway, cuz she liked that pic that I posted last week, and I don’t wanna get into any arguments…”
“Would you look at these two wannabes… Champagne flowing all over the place like people don’t know that you’re total fakes. I’m sharing this right now so the world can laugh at you losers.”
Does any of this sound like your own thoughts while reading someone’s post, looking at a picture or watching a movie, or following or maybe even participating in an online debate? Everything is OK. It’s normal today because it has become an integral part of the media world in which we live. If it were not for that, the Kardashians would not have been a global phenomenon today, nor would they have had so many of their local copies all over the world.
In the sea of information that we are constantly exposed to, today we will attach ourselves above all to something that is unseen, incredible, shocking, insane, disgusting, sick… as humans we are prone to it and it is nothing new. The fact is that we are more exposed today than ever before. But the truth is that such content is subject to us, and we are not always aware of it. And those who give it to us and do not want us to become aware of it.
How to draw the attention of the media consumer has always been the main task of the marketing industry. Because there lies the attention of the currency traded. Until yesterday, this currency was disposed of by traditional media, personalized in the radio, television, press and billboards, and it was marketed by media agencies. Media content conducts were objects whose attention was traditionally measured and packed by traditional media in a unique product on which they attached clear and easy to understand labels: TV and radio ratings, circulation. Today, it’s a load of information.
Even though we’re practically consuming media content 24/7 these days, the attention of the media has become so scattered that it’s not as easy to categorize it as it used to be. The media industry had to find other ways to keep our attention packed and sold. A key element in creating this new business model is the fact that today, as we already know, every single person, thanks to a smartphone which is a necessary accessory, is much more than a mere consumer of media content. It became its producer and distributor. That is why the task of the modern marketing industry not only attracts the attention of the media consumer, but also motivates it to distribute this content further and make it create and broadcast the content itself.
This leads to spectacularization of media content. For this reason, it has to be attractive, above all else, in order to incite us to share it. Whether a post is true or false, whether we’re sharing the truth or a lie, doesn’t matter so much. In fact, it doesn’t matter at all. What matters is the number of people who will see it and make us become more popular that we’re getting noticed. And then we can’t wait to check on the nominal result we’ve achieved – how many likes and comments we got and how many times people shared what we posted.
In this way, whether we realize it or not, we’ve turned ourselves into merchandise sold by others for profit, while we’re left to pick up the crumbs that fall from the tables of attention merchants and keep the change we get in the form of likes, fans, shares… The fact that some of us are dedicated enough in the pursuit of crumbs, which launches them as influencers with professional careers and earnings, serves as extra motivation to keep going. Big attention merchants such as Google, Facebook, Netflix or Amazon are rubbing their hands gleefully, whatever the case. They’ve hired us to work around the clock, and what’s more, we’re even enjoying it. Win-win.