8/20/2016 11:15:39 PM (in other words, I told you so…)

A radio interview included the phrase or sobriquet: “experience economy”. This was one of those tossed-in, off-the-cuff passing remarks mostly there to show that the speaker was in insider in the arena under discussion. The discussion was “Branding” and the wondrous manipulations of “your experience.” The speaker’s point was that everyone is helpless before the masterful machinations of “Branding” mavens. Present company excepted of course… and he demonstrated with statistics how people’s attitudes and opionions about products could be drastically altered with “Branding” techniques.

Branding, it pleases me to recall here, is a word for heating a piece of iron until it is red-hot, and plunging it onto the skin of an animal, burning the skin so severely that it chars, and leaves a scar denoting ownership.

So naturally I’m listening to all this thinking of what is being seared into my brain with every moment of exposure to mass media.

The Experience Economy indeed. This is yet another example of how most of us are missing what is right under our noses, ever more present and ever more consequential in every aspect of our lives: the Attention Economy is what they are trying to get at. This other term arrives through a quest for power and money by those confronted with economies of scale they can’t quite comprehend. The Internet was such a phenomenon: everyone looked at it and thought it must be a quick way to get rich, if they could just set up the right machinery.

The best example of the application of Attention Age strategy today is a Presidential Candidate whoses sensibilities are alarmingly close to those of Hitler and Stalin and Musolini and Pol Pot. The only thing he is good at, and very good indeed, is Attention Management. He can gather huge quantities of public attention in moments. What he does with it is the other half of what I’m calling mastery in this realm: the same moment in which all that attention is captured is the same moment in which it is connected to a primitive worldview firmly grounded in hate and fear.

This makes possible an active response from the public that is passionate, unthinking and often violent. This is because action correlates to perception. The Candidate has found out how to resonate with certain perceptions that correlate to the behavior of a mob. He is likely to gain great influence, if not the Presidency itself, and he will certainly do a lot of damage while the mob is excited.


┬ęCopyright 2019 Peter Barus