Words still matter

Medium’s mission — five years in

It’s also clear that the way media is changing isn’t entirely positive when it comes to creating a more informed citizenry. Now that we’ve made sharing information virtually effortless, how do we increase depth of understanding, while also creating a level playing field that encourages ideas that come from anywhere?

.. There’s more “content” than ever. But it’s also harder than ever to find signal amongst the noise and facts amongst the fiction — let alone inspiring ideas and high-level discourse, which is what the internet was meant to be.

.. It’s not just about creating great tools for writing. We must also create the right reward systems. The current reward system that drives content online looks like this: Attention = Money.

.. As a result, the path to profit is to manufacture attention more cheaply than what you get paid for it. This is not a dramatically different formula than the media business has historically run on. However, attention is now tracked, commodified, and rewarded in a way that has huge implications. Attention is rewarded, regardless of quality, context, or whether it was earned by conscious choice.

.. Conscious choice matters. It’s the difference between being a knowledge seeker and a channel flipper.

..  If you can’t look away from a car crash, it will surmise you want more car crashes and will create them for you. If you can’t stop eating junk food, it will serve you up a platter.

.. the realities of the attention economy are very tough for those who create things designed for anything but the widest possible (i.e., lowest-common-denominator) audience. For ad-driven sites, the revenue per reader has been dropping for years (while the experience worsens and privacy disintegrates), leaving little room for research, fact checking, or polish… let alone nuance or complexity. The system demands quantity. It demands speed. And it demands little else — except our clicks.