Attention defines our culture and as Matt points out the great cultural entrepreneurs have been the ones that know how to listen to, understand and measure attention.
From BuzzFeed all the way back to the 18th century taverns and pleasure gardens Matt tells the story of how the interaction between artists and audiences has moved from 'visceral participation to abstract measurement and back again via the birth of musical halls, cinema, TV and the internet'.
Building for new paterns of attention is one of the cornerstones of how we work at Storythings. Paying attention to how audiences are consuming, sharing and behaving around culture is something we obsess over. As a spectator sport there has never been a better time to be a fan.
The rigid cultural attention patterns of my childhood (music was split into 3 minute singles and 45 minute albums whilst TV was mostly 30 or 60 minute episodes or 90 minute films) seemed to hang around for what seemed like decades. Now our attenion is spread anywhere between a 6 second vine, glance up glance down reality TV and weekend long Netflix binges. The pace of change in audience behavior is so rapid one dare not take ones eye off them in fear they'll vanish quicker than a snapchat photo.
Empires of Attention is the book Matt is always threatening to write and the book I desperately want to read. I really hope he gets it written soon.