Monday, March 11, 2013

'Carping our diem, with both hands'

It goes without saying, that the "display" above may be a grotesque example of what Lanham was talking about in {stuff and fluff}, when he describes what we have become, "that we walk around plastered with sponsor decals like a race car." Yet it still displays, "what we think about stuff."

My own obsessions with Levi jeans, J. Crew t-shirts and button-downs, and of course, driving my Saab 9-3, all reflect my own brand loyalties and in some regards, feeds my "shallow display" of consumerism today. But the true essence of this assigned chapter was not the "stuff" in our lives today but rather the "fluff." And Lanham takes these ideas a step further by talking about their seemingly reversed role in economics today--where stuff is replaced by fluff--and how the economists are struggling to catch up with the change.

Roughly halfway through the piece, my mind began to wander. And not to joke about the topic set forth by this week's readings, "attention span," but how fitting I am in revealing this detail! This brought up an issue examined by my group from last summer's Managerial Marketing course. We expressed, with great detail, the shortening of attention spans in just this past decade alone. While all sources vary with where we were in 2000 with our attention spans, before the boom of social media and the smart phone, they are quite specific with where we are today. You have us--our attention spans--for five to eight seconds before our minds move to the next thought or task. Wade suggests he skims headlines all day, and I would agree and argue that we all do that today. If the headline doesn't interest us or strike our fancy, we move along to the next. How did we get this way as a society?

Just eight hours ago a Guardian blogger took to the subject and I must give credit when credit is due, I loved his analogy of today's attention span and its relation to modern technologies as the "Elvis Hypothesis." He defines this hypothesis with, "because something is new, popular with young people, and challenges existing hierarchies and traditions, it must be bad?" I appreciated his blog because he finds evidence that modern technologies--and using them in the classroom--are actually improving the quality of teaching and learning. Cue another reference to the use of this very blog, From Mass to Networked, and how we use this tool to bring more information to our peers about the very subjects we encounter with this course.

This draws or spells out the heart of what Lanham is getting at--we live in an age of attention scarcity, not information scarcity. In fact, we have so much information readily available for our consumption, that we don't really know how to handle it. In "handling" this information, the best packaging always seems to win. And the best packaging certainly includes an amount or unit of time we deem "worthy."

While below may be an advertisement, I believe it showcases where we are with successful digital marketing. Beyond seems to fit well with the topics at hand in this week's readings. You be the judge:

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