Are we at the will of our tech?
There seems to be an easy hack to taking back our attention: ensuring that our actions online are intentional; that we have opted in.
There is nothing that gives as much anxiety as scrolling aimlessly and wasting precious (and limited) attention. Paying attention means returning to ourselves and intentionally being interested in what we are learning, creating and sharing.
Opting in is an intentional act that leaves the actor in control. If we are going to spend time on Twitter today, let's go there with a purpose. Reading a long Naval thread. Recapping Manafort's potential double-flip. Intentionally searching for a link to the latest Farnham Street or a16z post.
If you haven't opted in you're being sold something you haven't asked for. You're not in control. Your attention has been hijacked and you will never get it back.
This also applies to selling. To sell is, indeed, human but the mass marketing era is over. When we spam the world we hope to steal attention; attention that we haven't asked for or earned. But when we seek to build a community of 1,000 true fans who have opted in, we intentionally build a tribe of life-long learners.