When Attention Turns Toxic

Serving an Audience of ONE
November 18, 2016

When Attention Turns Toxic


Much like any kind of power, attention has been sought after and fought over for thousands of years as a resource that we can leverage. We use the attention from others to influence decisions, to further our goals, and fuel our endeavors.

In this digital world, attention has been placed on a pedestal and made to be one of the most sought after commodities for influencers, authorities, and content producers. After all, what good is your story if there's no one there to hear it?

With all that said, attention is still a form a power; it must be managed and metered or it will consume and corrupt those that linger in the spotlight.

Keep the potato moving!

Like a weird version of hot-potato, attention can only serve our purposes in the present moment and must be passed along to the next player before the timer goes off, we lose the game, and we're left sitting with a rotten vegetable in our hands.

As long as the attention can be passed, shared, and diffused, the energy will most likely remain positive and meaningful. If it stays in one place for too long, history shows us that those sitting under the lamp eventually get cooked.

The Paparazzi Are Coming!

Looking at attention in the entertainment industry, I see many celebrities and influencers fall victim to simply being in the spotlight too long. One day they are singing songs and shouting praise. The next they start talking scandal and paparazzi are seen camping out on their lawn.

It's no wonder that you see the successful few speak their mind or spread their message just before stepping away; shedding the attention before it can turn on them.

Perhaps the most successful celebrities have learned to exit the stage and even become reclusive between performances. I doubt this is simply a marker for anti-social behavior.

The same can be said for the marketing departments in any major company. Most of the truly damaging press comes directly after the successful advertising or marketing campaign that refused to pass the potato.

It could even be speculated that some of the most hurtful headlines today would have only been a blurb on the back page if they hadn't tried to "keep the momentum going"… oh it'll keep going alright…

Anything worth having is equally worth sharing.

So am I saying that attention is bad? Of course not. Am I saying that we shouldn't be seeking attention from our audience or those who we serve? Not at all. This is simply my honest observation and the prediction of what WILL happen when we focus on attaining and then holding onto power of any kind.

It's been said by countless authors and philosophers through history; that the only way power can be used without burning our hands, is that once we have attained it and leveraged it for our own purposes, it must be passed along and shared equally so that others can benefit.

Attracting and gathering attention is a true sign of success. Holding onto it too long from fear of losing it will ultimately sour any achievement it may have been in the past.

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