Importance of Attracting Attention

Brian Rudolph, in particular, understood throughout the journey from obscurity to the shelves of nationwide retailers that drawing attention by any means necessary to himself and, by proxy, the product, was a modern marketplace imperative.
- Steve Friess, How Banza, a Chickpea Pasta Start-Up, Thrives on Attention, NYT, Nov. 30, 2016

In a race for ratings or clicks, news organizations are feeding our increasing addiction to ever-faster streams of fresh information. A dopamine hit for every screen-refreshing swipe. ...
President Trump understands as well as anyone else that the news spoils go to whoever controls The Algorithm. Its rules aren’t really so different from what drove the New York City tabloids that gave Mr. Trump a crash course in media manipulation back in the ’80s and ’90s, when he was hyping his next development, be it personal or business. ...
The president poured on the gasoline of outrage by tweeting that his policy was the Democrats’ fault, and his oldest son liked a post suggesting the children were crisis actors.
- Jim Rutenberg, At the Border Town That the News Cycle Has Left Behind, NYT, Oct. 21, 2018

A Chinese internet company that serves up homemade break-dancing videos, dishy news bites and goofy hashtag challenges has become one of the planet’s most richly valued start-ups, with a roughly $75 billion price tag. And it has big plans for storming phone screens across the rest of the globe, too. ...
The app is engineered for swift, maximal addictiveness. ...
Satsuki Hatashita, a 20-year-old college student in western Japan, has been hooked for months. She now knows not to use the app before taking a shower. “I wouldn’t be able to shower for a long time, until I finally stopped watching TikTok,” she said. ...
In July, the authorities in Indonesia temporarily blocked TikTok for hosting what they called “pornography, inappropriate content and blasphemy.” ...
In the rest of the world’s internet, where Instagram, Snapchat and others are already popular, TikTok faces stiff competition.

For Tao Ni, a 25-year-old newspaper reporter in eastern China, Tencent’s messaging app WeChat has already become more of a tool for work than a fun way to kill time. Weibo, a popular Twitter-like platform, can be wearying. But not Douyin, Ms. Tao said.

It’s because each video is so short, she said, that she can end up spending hours on what amounts to channel-surfing. “Anything longer than 15 seconds, and I might start to feel tired.”
- Raymond Zhong, China’s King of Internet Fluff Wants to Conquer the World, NYT, Oct. 29, 2018

Facebook, Twitter and YouTube have business models that thrive on the outrageous, the incendiary and the eye-catching, because such content generates “engagement” and captures our attention, which the platforms then sell to advertisers, paired with extensive data on users that allow advertisers (and propagandists) to “microtarget” us at an individual level.

Traditional media outlets, of course, are frequently also cynical manipulators of sensationalistic content, but social media is better able to weaponize it. Algorithms can measure what content best “engages” each user and can target him or her individually in a way that the sleaziest editor of a broadcast medium could only dream of.
- Zeynep Tufekci, Russian Meddling Is a Symptom, Not the Disease, NYT, Oct. 3, 2018

Viral moments are coveted in the Democratic primary race, where they can serve as a magnet for online donations and bring much-needed attention to candidates struggling to stand out in a large field.
- Thomas Kaplan, Elizabeth Warren Has Quick Comeback to Gay Marriage Question, NYT, Oct. 10, 2019

...ultimately, it is all about the ratings and it is all about people watching and the eyeballs.
- Donald Trump, in Dylan Bank et al., Get Me Roger Stone, 2017, 1:02

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