Paying attention vs. Getting attention

It’s a really good idea to clearly distinguish the two. Paying attention is certainly more rewarding and fulfilling than getting attention.

By paying attention, I mean focusing on your creative goals, getting into the zone where time becomes elastic. This has happened to me when I have been working on a track and all of a sudden it is 4am in the morning or when I have been in the studio space and managed to cram 14 hours of guitar tracking into a single day.

Getting attention is an inevitable desire. We have made something and we want to share it with the world. It is of course necessary to have a strategy in place to ship and distribute our work, but for the sake of our mental health, we need to avoid the pitfalls that the combination of social media and the human condition have set up.

Whether I have had something viewed ten or ten thousand times, for the part of the brain that these numbers feed, it will never be enough. The stats are informative but they can also be a race to the bottom. Are we hustlers or are we creators? We must not let the numbers define the value of the creative work we do, especially when the journey is so rewarding for us.

More ‘We’ and less ‘Us and Them’

The western world over the last five years has gone through a bruising period of division and much of the blame can be put down to the way social media works.

Much like the news, it appears that a lot of the things that cause the most response and reaction is outrage and anger. Thus what is amplified is a downward spiral of disinformation and hatred.

I think the social media companies can do much more to tackle this, and whilst we agitate for those changes, it is worth reflecting on how we as individuals can adopt a way to online interaction that is more responsible.

Lefties, Right wing, Snowflake, Gammon, Woke – all of these terms achieve essentially nothing in developing a productive conversation that promotes respectful debate. It becomes a battle of ‘us and them’. You look beyond your feed and in reality, it’s easy to realise that we (as in humans) share a lot more in common.

Even if viewpoints are polar opposite – the approach of ‘we’ or ‘us’ is a much better way to come to an understanding with what our values and desires are, and explore the possibilities available to us.

It is much better to emphasise and treat each other with respect and dignity than point fingers.