Attention is what we all seek.....

Posted by Tandarin Nike Wednesday, June 9, 2010 7:35 AM
Most people enjoy getting attention. It's one of our basic needs. Little kids go through a "Look at me!" stage that lasts years. I believe we never grow out of that. All we do is learn how to be more subtle in saying, "Look at me!"

There are lots of strategies for getting attention. Perhaps you like to select clothing that will make people spend a bit more time looking at you. Maybe you excel at your job, or at a team sport, so people will notice you. I believe that personal attention is a big part of what makes you enjoy getting a massage or a haircut or a pedicure.

I was in customer service in the caveman days when video machines were new. The big fear from customers was the loss of "personal service” on extremely expensive equipment. That's code for "I like to get attention from the service manager."

I worked as a desk clerk for a few summers when I was in college. My boss trained us to understand that half of the complaints we received were valid and the other half were from people who wanted some personal attention. We were trained to give that attention by carefully writing down the complaint and then throwing away the piece of paper when the customer left, assuming the complaint was obvious nonsense. It happened a lot.

The main reason I write this blog is because I like the attention. The main reason people leave comments on what I write is for the attention. We can all concoct other rationalizations, but attention is the main payoff.

Consider the odd concept of asking for autographs. My theory is that the attention of a famous person seems more valuable than the attention of an unknown because the famous person is himself the subject of much attention. It's as though the famous person is a magnifying glass, focusing the sun of attention on the recipient at the moment that the autograph is given. It's like regular attention but supercharged.

I assume there is some evolutionary advantage to seeking attention. The first step in mating is making someone else notice you exist. On a psychological level, I believe attention from others is a necessary condition for staving off insanity. Regardless of its purpose, attention is clearly a deep and natural human need.

This brings me to the question of the day. If the India Times asked you to write a guest editorial, for no pay, on the topic of your choice, would you do it? Suppose you know that your writing won't change any opinions, and it would take five hours for you to research and write your article. Also assume that the Times editors would tighten up your writing to make it sound professional, so it's no problem if you're not a great writer. All you would get from this experience is attention, and probably a lot of it. Would you do it?

If your answer is yes, then it provides a basis for putting an economic value on attention. There's a price-per-word range that publications are willing to pay professional writers for content. If you would do that same work for free, at least once, then that is one data point for beginning to determine the average value of attention.

Someday an entrepreneur will make a fortune by figuring out how to monetize personal attention in the most efficient way.

If any of you come across this entrepreneur, please do let me know…

5 Response to "Attention is what we all seek....."

  1. shivani Says:

    Hahaha! lovely! i feel happy to read your post so well written about this thing called 'show thyself'.
    Yeah this is the age where the survival mantra actually is Swayam Sumiran through which we are able to market ourselves successfully.Hahaha! and we all know that much of it is not a lie but not the absolute truth either.How we love to do that ordinarily and if for career then struggle and lose sleep about how to sparkle enough to grab the seat.
    Maybe when we are all tired and utterly finished in the race then perhaps we would want to chant that mantra which should be 'know thyself'.
    Enjoyed what you had to say and also ditto it.
    That entrepreneur you are looking for i was told by my son sits in all the interview boards right from the education on scholarship abroad to internship to the actual job. How are you going to be of profitable to the University/Company? Isn't that they ask the answer to which should dazzle the daylights out of them.:)

  2. Tandarin Nike Says:

    Thanks Shivani for your comments. Yes!! the review panels have such entrepreneurs who seek adulations if not attention. Now I have to keep that in mind in the forthcoming reviews for some new recruits in my organisation. Humans rejoice within themselves when admired and hence the seeking of attention.

  3. Ankush Naik Says:

    Haha, smashing post. But now I'm confused about how you'd interpret our comments on your posts. Let it be known that I'm certainly not looking to be noticed, or am I? :-P

  4. Tandarin Nike Says:

    Thanks Ankush... this is to certify that you are not noticed at all.... happy?????? Looks like you are seeking a lot of attention and you got it. hehehehehe

  5. Ankush Naik Says:

    Haha, the basic idea here is to get the comments flowing and thus get noticed, we are both doing it and let's not be ashamed of it :-)

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