Technology controls us. The companies that make the hardware and software hijack our attention and turn us into distraction-seeking mice. None of this is good for our cognition.
Reward and pleasure are addicting, so much so we get anxious when the pellets stop showing up. That’s when we reach into our pockets and pull out the slot machine disguised as a smartphone for another hit of dopamine.
That Instagram heart, the Twitter retweet, the Facebook like–they are all designed to steal our conscious attention. They say sitting is the new smoking; how about pecking at our smartphones? Walk down a busy street; both walkers and drivers are looking down. Self-driving cars can’t come soon enough!
This continuous partial attention is not only causing cognitive load, but it’s also putting our lives at risk. We’ve become transfixed on creating and consuming bite-sized rewards.
Learn to focus. Learn to be bored. Learn to daydream.
Everything is contrived, from the glowing burger buns, fresh lettuce and tomatoes, to the juicy fresh meat. Video takes food advertising even further, making it come alive from its static state.
Table top advertising or food marketing is no different than any other product marketing: the illusion never matches with the reality of creating it. In reality, the food has been dressed up and augmented to look fresh and mouth watering like those lobsters in Red Lobster commercials.
Fashion advertising is similar. The model is always more enticing wearing makeup and sporting a six pack. When models make commercials, they never smile. Bad assery sells.
Not surprisingly, food porn and selfies are huge on Instagram too, the people’s marketing platform. A little bit of shoot preparation and filters make both food and faces look better than they actually are.
Today, anyone can use technology to create a Hollywood look. Everyone’s deceiving and buying lies at the same time. We all desire better versions of ourselves, including what appears on our plates.
It had that barbershop vibe, the relaxed atmosphere where people kicked back, dug the crates, and talked music.
There were posters and promotional displays but they couldn’t outshine the album artwork. Marketing started from the bottom up. Consumption was based on peer recommendations.
The record shop was a place of giver’s gain, where the information shared upfront by one crate digger to another got reciprocated down the road.
Back then, music collecting was truly social. Today, social algorithms make recommendations.
While the data is getting smarter, popularity reigns because the wisdom of crowds leans popular, making music suggestions more mimetic and less random. Pop music exists because people are too shallow, lazy, or genuinely uninterested in looking deeper.
You only need to listen to a few DJs and curators to know what’s good. These are the same crate diggers you used to speak to in the record stores which are now mostly nonexistent.
Taste is not universal. It’s personal yet relatable and trustworthy, especially if it’s coming from a respected source.
Stepping into a particular record store once meant openness and experimentation, the willingness to try new sounds and share tracks with others.
In the absence of music shops, music lost some of its frequency and culture fell on deaf ears.
Twitter’s removal of millions of fake accounts reminds us that not everything is what it seems. The internet is full of bots, replicating humans, even programmed to act more human than the humans themselves.
We too are conscious automata, no more authentic than the droids themselves. People are just savvy editors. We present our best selves online to increase our self-worth and to make other people envious.
Artifice defeats authenticity in all chess matches of the irreality we crave.
Yet, the push to be at our best could be the resolution to our proposed mediocrity. Why shoot ourselves down when a quasi-celebrity lifestyle sits at our fingertips.
Fame happens to the mobile holder. Stuck in a ludic loop, we are the host of our own Truman Show. Attention captured, republished, and released. We’re neither superior to bots nor are we consciously behind.
We are all walking billboards. Logos and sponsors aren’t restricted to the chest of professional soccer and basketball uniforms.
As consumers, we signal our own catalog of attention triggers — the Nike Swoosh, the Adidas stripe, the Bauhaus-inspired Apple AirPods, etc.
We’ve been working for brands all along. Social media and the proliferation of images intensify the ubiquity of advertising.
Facebook long understood its users were the best advertisers, helping brands generate impressions through the return of reshares, likes, and comments. Harvesting attention is a $1.2 trillion annual business, with influencers acting as the newest sensation in image marketing.
Subtle like soft power, we sell without selling, creating an endless gif loop of buying — all to confirm the story in our heads.