I want to get engaged

We are “terminally distracted,” in the words of New York magazine, and victims of “elective ADHD.”

We, the readers and consumers of content, suffer from an interminable amount of choice. Some predecessors saw this coming.

Psychologist William James said, “My experience is what I agree to attend to.”

Heard of the “attention economy”? Thank economist Herbert Simon, circa 1971.

“What information consumes is rather obvious: it consumes the attention of its recipients.”

Faced with the loss, or at least degradation, of the most basic of creative pauses, we, as writers, are faced with the truth that our readers can move on with a click of the mouse.

These days, good writing also needs strong organizational engagement.

Engagement is one of those funny terms that nobody can concretely define, and when they do, the definitions are never the same. Hell, I’m writing a thesis on the topic. It’s that big, and it has nothing to do with rings or marriage, thankfully.

“Engagement” is:

• publishing frequency

crowdsourcing

• a conversation

• a post-publication problem

tweeting personally.

• the future.

Above all, engagement is the attraction of attention, a commodity which cannot be faked or forced or kept for too long, but where attention flows, so does money.

For the journalism industry this “engagement” is the Yellow Brick Road. Maybe we need a new method of covering stories, a network of topics rather than one-off articles. Maybe we need to fail more or crunch different numbers.

My generation has the ability to solve these problems. The solutions start with engagement.

This entry was posted in Journalism Industry, Reporting Experiences. Bookmark the permalink.

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