I Talked to the Cassandra of the Internet Age
by Charlie Warzel
I highly suggest consuming the full piece here (8 min. read time)
The Cassandra of the Internet Age = Michael Goldhaber
Michael Goldhaber is a former theoretical physicist and writer of a 1997 Wired magazine essay that helped popularize the term “attention economy.” He also notably predicted the complete dominance of the internet, increased shamelessness in politics, terrorists co-opting social media, the rise of reality television, personal websites, oversharing, personal essay, fandoms and online influencer culture — along with the near destruction of our ability to focus.
“Attention has always been currency, but as we’ve begun to live our lives increasingly online, it’s now the currency. Any discussion of power is now, ultimately, a conversation about attention and how we extract it, wield it, waste it, abuse it, sell it, lose it and profit from it.” — Charlie Warzel
Michael Goldhaber’s favorite maxim, from the writer Howard Rheingold: “Attention is a limited resource, so pay attention to where you pay attention.” This coincides with Michael’s biggest worry: our failure to acknowledge that we live in a roaring attention economy.
“We can explore the ways in which our attention is generated, manipulated, valued and degraded. Sometimes attention might simply be a lens through which to read the events of the moment. But it can also force us toward a better understanding of how our minds work or how we value our time and the time of others. Perhaps, just by acknowledging its presence, we can begin to direct it toward people, ideas and causes that are worthy of our precious resource.” — Charlie Warzel
My two cents: I used to think habits (when added together) were the culmination of one’s life, but this piece changed that for me. To even have habits, you must have attention first. Arguably, habits are just where we choose to allocate clusters of our attention. This may not be that surprising to some. I just find it sort of funny that I never thought of habits/attention in the same thought before.
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