11th April 2019

Why the battle for our attention matters for charities

Attention economics is an approach to the management of information that treats human attention as a scarce commodity and applies economic theory to solve various information management problems. Put simply, “Attention is a resource—a person has only so much of it.”

Attention economics is an approach to the management of information that treats human attention as a scarce commodity and applies economic theory to solve various information management problems. Put simply, “Attention is a resource—a person has only so much of it.”

You’re thinking of checking Twitter right now, aren’t you? It’s OK, you’re amongst friends.

As content has grown increasingly abundant and immediately available, attention becomes the limiting factor in the consumption of information.

How many new Instagram likes and followers today?

Three people texting on their phone at train station

A strong trigger of this effect is that the mental capability of humans is limited and the receptiveness of information is hence limited as well.

Whatever happened to my MySpace account? I miss Tom.

This causes a huge issue for charities that are fighting to get their voices heard and reach potential audiences to increase awareness and funding.

Why is Facebook telling me about events my friends are going to near me? How does this help me except to make my life seem banal in comparison?

This great blog by CAF’s Rhodri Davies explores whether charities should be willing participants in an ‘attention economy’ where brands compete to exploit potentially unhealthy online behaviours.

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