The average price for a person’s attention is â¹430 per hour. I like to call this the cost of the distraction.
How did I get there? â¹430? Data from job boards like Glassdoor, Naukri, and Payscale suggests that Indians with just over a decade of experience can expect to get paid â¹75,000 per month. For 8-hour days and 5-day weeks, the remuneration is per working hour.
Now, millions of those who scroll endlessly for hours each day have well over 10 years of experience in their fields and / or monetize their time for much more than â¹75,000 a month. May I then ask you to calculate in your context and to calculate the value of your attention?
Why is this number important? Because attention is a finite resource that cannot be saved for later use. Although people in the post-Covid world admittedly work longer and harder, there will always be a point where fatigue creeps in. There are limits to how much creative and original work can be packed into each day.
This is part of what makes attention worthwhile and worth fighting for. Yet most people give away hours of it for free; often, worse than free, they give it away to mega-corporations that earn billions with it and in return offer next to nothing.
To put this in context, after calculating the price of my attention, I performed a thought experiment: If Twitter insisted that I pay an hourly fee to access its feed, would I? The answer came immediately: no.
If the content isn’t something I would exchange for money, why am I paying so much for it in time?
Aside from the problem of clutter – too much information comes out every day – this is a good reason to switch to a conscious and conscious approach to information.
For example, while there are plenty of interesting voices and people on Twitter, the fact is that the voices of the insane are numerically greater than those of the healthy. Social media platforms have typically become spaces where amplification has no relation to value. For example, when the UK-based Center for Countering Digital Hate (CCDH) investigated disinformation campaigns in July, it found that only 12 online personalities were responsible for spreading false information about vaccines to a total of 59 million people worldwide.
Social media today is a parallel reality where influencers spend a lot more time and attention trying to sense their presence than making sure what they post has value. And because most people don’t consider their attention a precious resource, the influencer model works; Millions are addicted across platforms, even though most conversations are a meaningless jumble of memes, meaningless personal bytes, and conspiracy theories.
After doing this thought experiment, I decided to revise my formula for the value of my attention as well. Because it’s not just about your own income or even about your own enrichment. Attention as wealth has a value that goes well beyond such considerations. After all, how do you rate the time that you spend, talk, connect and reconnect with a partner, parent or child? How important is the long-term impact of this on loved ones, relationships, and yourself?
In a world that is so cacophonic, I’ve made the decision to be more conscious about choosing the people I pay attention to. Pick people whose presence and voice are as precious as the time and attention they are exchanged for.