I have written at length before about the value of time, and how it serves as our greatest asset. That is not what this blog is about exactly, however it does serve as a good starting point as to the point I would like to make.
Just like how we only have a finite amount of time in life, and how we all have the same amount of it each day, there is another important asset that we need to seriously consider valuing at a higher level that we only have so much of each and every day. It's value is rising with each passing second.
The one thing that I believe people must value more is their attention. The world is changing rapidly every day. While the fight for eyeballs and marketing attention is a venture as old as time, the way in which companies achieve this attention is changing rapidly, and they are getting MUCH better at doing so.
The information age has been accelerating since the advent of the internet, and the last decade has shown just the tip of the iceberg in the power that it will bring. There are new social media platforms that are evolving and further changing the way we interact with each other, and more importantly, how we spend our time and attention.
I have written before about the behemoth that TikTok has become and the ridiculous amount of growth it will likely still have. The use of short-from video and endless amount of content on the platform are transformational shifts in the way we have consumed social media. The holy “TikTok algorithm knows what you want to eat for breakfast before you wake up. It knows what kind of clothes you want to buy. It knows what political take you want to see. But most importantly, it knows how to keep your attention.
I currently average making about 3-5 TikTok videos a week across my accounts on the @BonkerBeat and my new baseball card account @BonkersCards. I have posted well over 100 videos in the last year. The most important metric that TikTok uses in pushing my content out to more people is watch time. The more watch time, the more attention TikTok is getting its consumers. The more attention that you give the app, the more time people spend on it, and the more time time people are spending on it, the more brands and influencers can make money selling you that new energy drink or that T-Shirt you didn’t know you needed. Check out this chart showing TikTok passing YouTube in average user watch time in both the US and UK.
So yes we have established that our attention is worth lots of money and there is growth in the market that is focused on capturing it. But what does that mean to you? Why should you care?
When we give our attention to scrolling Twitter or TikTok, we are actively taking it away from other areas of our life that can provide a greater return on investment.
When it comes to your time and energy, every choice you make is an investment, and each investment will yield a different return.
I personally struggle with how to cut out my time effectively and am by no means an expert of time management. That is partly why I am writing this blog, to help myself recognize the importance of my attention and focus.
We all have goals in life and dreams we wish to achieve. And we all have our own individual hurdles and barriers that we must overcome in order to achieve them. However, one thing all of us will need to do in order to be successful in achieving those goals is to recognize the value of our focus and attention.
Maybe it’s setting a screen-time limit on your phone for your social apps. Maybe it’s saying no once in a while to those weekends plans your buddy is trying to make. Maybe it’s not binging your favorite show on Netflix for four hours a night and just watching an episode or two. (Going to be a tall task when Peaky Blinders comes out in a couple months)
When we peel back where we are spending our attention, we likely will find areas that we realize we are not getting the return we wish to seek with it. Once we are able to unlock this attention, we may be able to push it towards other areas and aspirations of our goals that we at one time were feeling unobtainable because we simply just didn't have enough time.
I'm going to give setting a 30 minute timer on TikTok a go starting this week and report back here in a couple months and see how it goes. I spend a lot of time on the platform currently partly because I am editing and making content, but I also know that I lose so much attention mindlessly scrolling and watching videos of French Bulldogs run around when I've got one right at home anyway. I have been slacking on my podcast and I am hoping with unlocking some time on social media, I will be able to give the pod the attention it deserves.
I'll leave you with one final question that made me want to write this blog today.
If TikTok, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Netflix, and every other tech company other the sun is valuing your attention so much, why aren’t you?
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