The whole concept of Social media is built on instant engagement, just now. The smartphone isn’t just smart, it’s merely hot. It pulsates you on the instantaneous. [Maybe you are checking a text which pinged on your phone just as you are reading this]
There doesn’t seem anything more urgent than checking the latest message, it is a powerful medium to reach you instant, immediate, personal like someone punches you in the face. Today, we’re getting virtual punches, from every direction, all self-propelled, many of them amplified.
Can you recall when was the last time you actually sat down to read a book? Those words on the book pages are asleep, inert forms, and can’t do a thing until they are powerful enough to interact with you, engage you enough. Otherwise Words are dead.
Words are a noun, attention is a verb. Slack is an adjective engineered for motion, the Kindle is a silent repository you have to press to divert your attention and actually engage into something enriching.
An audiobook, on the other hand, propels itself. The words are spoken, whether you listen or not, so you better listen.
And a video is just as alive.
The next level up is new. As in news. Or previously unknown. When it’s breaking, it propels itself even harder, because we know that we’re about to hear something previously unheard.
And beyond that? When humans are involved. Not just news, but news from a friend. News that our peers are about to be talking about. Not just propelled, but amplified by our cohort and our culture.
The ideas that propel themselves on the tailwinds of culture will dominate, opposed only by the people who care enough to propel ideas that matter instead.
This, I think, is one of the giant chasms of our new generation, always seen, not often noticed. That we’re moving from the considered words of a book or even a Wikipedia article to the urgent, connected ideas that propel themselves.
In conclusion one would say that to gain the attention of the reader there should be an element of promotion associated with it, the act of introducing an idea to someone who may need it. What’s shifted is that the promotion has transcended most of the process, because the idea itself becomes the promotion.
That requires a lot of effort. Maybe my effort was worth it.