Organization: Revista Disertaciones
Articles for Vol. 15, Issue 2 (Jul-Dec, 2022)
Attention Economy: Data, Social Networks and Digital Consumption
Companies like Amazon, Facebook, Google, Apple, Tik Tok, WeChat and Weibo transformed the economic, political, and social horizon of the Internet. The original idea of a free, open access, egalitarian and plural interconnection became a universe with dominant actors that control web traffic, data, and user attention in digital environments.
The attention and data produced in the new ecosystem are the most valued commodity in the digital world, and to capture and exploit it commercially, platforms offer free services, design attractive interfaces, promise states of happiness and emit millions of impulses to attract user’s attention, a good that is psychologically, neurophysiologically and economically scarce and limited.
As early as 1971, Herbert Simon, an economist who studied decision-making processes, stated that in a society with an abundance of information, what is scarce is attention. The author stated that attention was a scarce resource, and, therefore, with high economic value. Although at the time this idea did not have a major impact on communication and culture studies, the topic gained relevance at the end of the 20th century, and recently, to explain the financing model of the Internet and of companies such as Google, Facebook, or Netflix.
Although terms such as platform economy, platform surveillance or shared platform have been used to describe the commercial logic of the Internet, the attention economy has gained notoriety, not only because of conceptual preferences, but also because historically the exploitation of attention -today also linked to the practice of neuromarketing- has been the objective of sectors such as the media and advertising. For this reason, although at present the business model of technology companies is based on capturing and commercializing the attention of users, this has been the resource that the media and advertising agencies -intimately related actors- have exploited for almost two centuries.
The attention market is a zero-sum game: while some win, others lose. In this competition, Silicon Valley technology companies have taken the lead, since they have the technical capacity not only to capture attention, but to manipulate it through algorithms that collect the data and preferences of users so that they spend more time in their applications and services. The more time people spend on the platforms, the more data they collect and therefore the more income they earn.
Preliminary studies on the economy of attention and on the application of neuromarketing to attention-grabbing strategies characterize it as a dimension of the information society market. However, the capture and processing of data through inaccessible “black boxes” prevents the phenomenon from being fully understood and forces the academy to build and propose methodologies to measure, analyze and understand the consumption and attention of users in platforms.
Thus, this Call for Papers of Disertaciones invites you to present papers that provide clues to understand the complexity of the economy of attention and digital consumption. The topics include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Conceptual and historical discussions on the economy of attention.
- Interdisciplinary approaches to the study of digital attention and addiction.
- Social networks and measurement of digital attention.
- The media in the attention economy.
- Cognitive capitalism and user-generated content income.
- Influencers, micro influencers and Youtubers in the attention market.
- Attentional techniques: design, notifications, and reward systems.
- Comparative or longitudinal studies: trends, changes, and projections.
- Neuromarketing and consumption of digital products.
- Legal, economic, psychological, and sociological perspectives of neuromarketing.
- Regulations for the attention market.
- Binge-watching: Algorithms and cultural consumptions.
Studies on the economy of attention, despite not being new, did not become visible until technology companies developed tools for monitoring user attention: views, likes, shares. The impetus given by this monograph, to propose empirical approaches to the research area, is undoubtedly necessary not only as an entry stage for the disciplinary field, but also for the understanding of a crucial problem in the development of communication and its economic structure for the next decades.
Deadline for submitting articles: Sept. 30, 2021
Likewise, the journal continously receives texts dedicated to free topics within the field of communication research that will be published in the Avances section of the journal together with those works belonging to the monographic issue. More information about this open section can be found here: https://revistas.urosario.edu.co/index.php/disertaciones/about/submissions
Articles accepted before the publication of the issue in July 2022 will be published as preprint in the web of the journal.
The special issue will be coordinated by Diego García Ramírez (firstname.lastname@example.org / Universidad del Rosario, Colombia), and Santiago Giraldo Luque (email@example.com / Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Spain).
Diego García Ramírez