Attention is the currency of the Internet. When you pay attention to someone or something online — by viewing it, by commenting on it, by linking to it — you help to legitimize it in a palpable way. You help it to attract more attention, traffic, and ad revenue. This of course is often the opposite of what a critic is trying to do. By paying attention to me, the conservative blogosphere amplified a voice that it hoped to drown out.
In contrast, look at what happens when people direct their attention to what they like or what more from. Companies that focus on thanking people for positive feedback, rather than defending themselves against online criticism, develop strong online fan bases. Nonprofits that reach out to their supporters expand their network of support. People who focus on their closest friends have more satisfying online relationships.
Giving this kind of attention helps the Internet become the kind of online world we’d like to see. And it means that we’ll spend time in those parts of the Internet that reflect our own values. We’ll spend our time online from a place of integrity. And we’ll experience our time online as an authentic reflection of who we really are.
How can you best spend the currency of your own attention online?