🎯 attention is broken

even the emoji in the title is a way to get your attention...


Written by jack friks

Last Updated: Jun 20, 2023

Over-the-top content is all around us, matter a fact: it’s limitless & growing.

& the attention mechanisms we have today are awfully broken.

Today I want to make you more aware of the system, & the race to zero we’re in for your attention.

Quick sidenote for those who want to build better habits with sciencey tips and inspiring stories, you can Subscribe to Kody’s Habit Examples

Attention eyeball trophies

Hyper-edited 30-second videos with subtitles for every word popping up at you to keep your attention, hyper-edited attention driving & high retention capturing longer videos…

The over-the-top style of video bombards us in whatever direction we turn our heads.

this is because more time is spent analyzing retention tactics, adding hyper-edited bananas flying across your screen & a lot less time is spent just documenting or creating for the sake of itself.

& actually: I think it’s awesome that some people are creating these super high-quality, engaging videos & pieces of content. Many are doing it because they are really excited to entertain people.

However, a lot of it is a downstream effect of eyeball trophies.

What do I mean by “eyeball trophies”?

Well: for every success of attention captured using over-the-top editing or retention-based editing there is someone who turns their head while creating something true to themselves & falls into the pit of eyeball trophies

The pit is filled with exponentially more views, more eyeballs & more attention coming to their creations in the short term because they optimized it for retention & clicks.

It’s a game in itself for people to pay attention to you to have a certain number of views on your creations, it’s another layer on the game when we bring in trophies for eyeballs. These trophies come in the form of status, money, fame & whatever else.

People who started making videos on the internet to document their process, share insights, or to even entertain start to use less and less of what makes them curios & lean into more of this new age hyper-edited, bananas flying across the screen for dramatic effect style to keep people engaged, to get more eyeballs, to get more trophies on the never-ending retention treadmill.


The race to zero (escaping it)

The race to zero ensues here when everyone is cutting themselves more and more out of the picture for what matters in their content & everyone begins to only focus on the views, the click-through rates, the retention, etc

We lose the juice, the creative flow & we lose the FUN

Not only do we lose the fun, but we also lose a lot of the direct value people are giving in barebones mediums because anything not over edited & published is viewed as naked, under-produced content (or so we think)

when in reality more editing does not equal more value.

Example: This guy Steve Swiat posts 1 video a day and talks about things he finds valuable for personal development, No custom thumbnails (uses a clip from the video) & no editing either (the videos are him talking while walking outside)

& guess what? people still click, and people still watch! I did, & I will watch more videos that are portraying a valuable message.

Experimenting with attention

Here's how I'm experimenting with a different way of playing this attention game:

Barebones video editing.

I'm cutting back my video editing to taking less than 15 minutes per video.

Simple cuts & trims, adding in an outro, & the same 10-sec music riser of a soundtrack I enjoy to start the vid.

This opens up me more time for writing + things I get lost in.

Simple thumbnails

Thumbnail creation is something I don't really want to spend nearly as much time on as I do: & I think there's a simpler way for my content to play this game of clicks

Especially since my vids are idea based

See New thumbs on top, old on bottom.

Heavy Focus on fun creation

When you turn creating into a task you must do to earn a reward, (for me it’s writing) then the task loses its fun edge.

it’s now strictly biz & suddenly enough you're lost in the retention mechanism.

I'll be taking more time now to THINK & enjoy.

I'll be doing this mostly as a byproduct of the prior experiments, as this frees up a lot of time & mental bandwidth for the ideas I want to ponder & think about more. then I can create more thoughtful & true things for myself.

This is where my fire comes from, not retention. how about you? (Leave my a reply)


Questions to redirect your attention

Finally, I ask you, as a creator & consumer (we're all both)

Think about where your attention is drawn & where you lead others:

Are these areas the areas you want to improve on or do they bring you value in your life? Or are you caught in a hamster wheel?

Answer these questions & you may just be a little better off on how you proceed in the hyper-edited, flying banana attention economy competing for eyeball trophies.

A nice quote from a nice dude on Twitter:
“Focus on what you want to see more of” -Visakan Veerasamy

Summary, TLDR & Wrap-up Conclusion

The prevalence of over-the-top content and broken attention mechanisms pose challenges. However, there is value in creating genuine, engaging content.

The pursuit of eyeball trophies can lead to a loss of creativity and fun. By embracing simplicity, focusing on enjoyment, and redirecting attention to meaningful content, we can escape the race for views and find fulfillment.

Remember to prioritize what brings you value and seek improvement in areas that matter to you. As Visakan Veerasamy said, "Focus on what you want to see more of."

Thanks for reading, so frikin much, & stay tuned to see me experiment more with living a more freedom-optimized approach to life in the digital age.

sincerely, with the warmest of regards
your friend,
jack ♠

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