Recently, I was asked to comment for an eBook on Attention Scarcity In Marketing. It’s an interesting topic, you’ll see my contrarian position in a few weeks when it’s published.
It’s not hard to understand this issue, yet I suspect the culprits in creating this Attention Scarcity are marketing and sales folks. It seems the favored method to catch attention is to escalate the volume of communications (both figuratively and literally). Everyday, we pummel each other with a never ending stream of messages, offers, provocative positions—all in the quest of catching someone’s attention.
And the tools, or at least the way we use these tools, allow us to go to further lengths. Too often, we automate our presence in social media. Rather than actually being engaged, our bots become our surrogates. I’m deluged daily with automated tweets. People want to “share” great content on Twitter. Rather than filtering through that content personally, they automate the process, so they don’t even have to look at it. Seems as though they are somehow losing sight of the real value of Twitter. It’s not creating Tweets, but it’s about engaging people.
Or, continuing to pick on Twitter, rather than tweeting in real time, they schedule their tweets, to make them look more active, present and engaged when they really are no where to be found. [Full disclosure, about 50% of my tweets are scheduled. I plead guilty to this sin and to contributing to the escalating volume of noise.]
Today, I got invited to participate in a Twitter chat. It actually looks quite interesting, unfortunately, I’ll be in meetings during the chat. “No problem,” respond the hosts. “You can schedule your answers to the questions we are posing, you don’t even have to be present.”
I was provided the questions and the time it would be appropriate to schedule answers.
It’s remarkable, we can have an entire Twitter discussion with no one actually present or participating! One wonders why we need people at all. Everyone can just schedule their responses without needing to be engaged.
It’s not far off, that no one has to be engaged in these discussions. Our “bots” can make it seem like we are present and participating, and will be talking to each other. (I’m imagining a three way conversations between Siri, Cortana, and Alexa. Wonder if any of them can make a commitment or issue a purchase order?)
It’s all terribly clean and efficient. We can pretend that we are engaged and participating. We can create huge volumes of conversations–yet no one has to pay attention, no one has to be engaged, except our bots.
It seems if we want to get attention, we have to pay attention.
We have to participate, we have to be present, we have to be engaged with each other, not our “bots.”
We have to be relevant, impactful, timely.
We have to create meaning–for each other.
We have to have real conversations. You know those things where someone says something, someone else listens, evaluates, responds. Those things that build interest and engagement because we are together (physically or via phone/video). We are listening, responding, questioning, challenging, deciding, agreeing/disagreeing, than figuring out how we move forward together.
It’s those conversations that produce results, that enable all of us to move forward. It’s authentic and real engagement and interest that enable us to build interest, relationships and capture attention.
Perhaps the Attention Scarcity problem is because the only “people” talking at each other are our bots, and no one is there to “hear” what’s going on or pay attention.
Maybe engagement, conversations, and attention would be much simpler if we just showed up.
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