My unofficial definition of attention (before I go look it up in the dictionary) is something like this: ‘any action that’s purpose is to generate a response from an intended or unintended recipient.
Now, dictionary.com’s definition- “at•ten•tion: the act or faculty of attending, especially by directing the mind to an object. “ I guess I didn’t do so badly, but I really think the second part of the official definition syncs with mine, and also my point to the rest of this article.
Now, lots of times attention gets a bad rap. People who crave it, act out for it, or need it, are generally discussed in a negative manner. Like the common phrase, “we don’t want to call attention to ourselves”, it suggests that we are a society who do NOT constantly look for attention. We look at it like needing or wanting attention is a bad thing. When in reality, especially in corporate America, attention is the root of we strive for.
With the development of social media, people act to gain attention millions of times a day. Every tweet, post, like, poke, update, ping, bing, photo, video, article or anything else that is submitted on any of the number of social media websites, is intended to gain attention from others. People don’t do those things so nobody will see or hear about them. Though you may post a picture of what you ate for lunch just because you felt like it, you did it solely for the purpose for other people to see. You did it so other minds to be directed to your picture of a grilled cheese sandwich. If you didn’t want all 654 of your friends to see your “Happy Birthday!” message to your best friend Maggie, you would have picked up the phone and called her.
Now don’t get all bent out of shape, businesses do the same thing. Actions are meant to gain attention to the company. Because, attention=profit. Now I’m not talking just about social media, I’m talking about marketing and everything as a whole. Billboards, commercials, specials, advertisements, radio spots, are all forms of “tweeting” or “posting” on the Facebook wall of corporate America. As we all know, social media is the new forum that marketers need to figure out how to conquer. But whether you are a worldwide retailer, or a company of one, actions on social media are posted for the pure conscious or subconscious reason to gain attention. And it really isn’t such a bad thing.
They point I am trying to make is that as far as social media goes, people and businesses aren’t so different. You submit your ideas (in various forms mentioned above) so people will look at them and think of you. When a person posts, the attention and profit they gain can simply be the intangible thought and satisfaction that other people see what they are doing/thinking. A normal person’s profit may be a couple “likes” or ”retweets” and a friend request or two if you’re lucky. A business’s goal is to generate the same attention hoping that people see, remember, and eventually invest in that company-hoping to gain loyal customers.
Everyone has their own stance on the social media craze. But in my opinion, this is a good way for those attention starving people and businesses to fill their void. The hard part for companies is to figure out how it drive revenue and increase customers, a little harder than getting 17 comments on the picture of you on spring break. Whether your profit is monetary or emotional, attention is the core of your social media agenda.