I felt the same uplifting feeling most of the class had when reading Boyd’s work vs. Carr’s. It was nice to be presented with knowledge and then to be allowed to make up our own mind about it. I thought Carr was too heavy-handed with what he wanted his audience to take away from the book. Obviously as a writer that is important, but in terms of appealing to more people I think it hurt his argument. In this sense, I thought Boyd presented an argument more like a journalist. She lays out her piece based on her understanding of her topic, but she does so in an unbiased way. The book centers on informing rather than conforming, Boyd didn’t just try and sway people towards her way of thinking like Carr did. It was a welcome change to move away from the idea that technology is an inevitable foe.
The part of Boyd that struck me the most was what she had to say about attention. I thought it was interesting how she framed our changing relationship with social media with the idea of attention. In “The Celebration of Everyday Life” section of the book, she illustrates how our intimacy with social media is formed from our society’s focus on the value of social and cultural attention. This attention is sought after so much because it colors our society. Boyd points out, as children we see our parents gossiping, reality television, celebrity news and this teaches us our most powerful social currency: attention. I found this to be extremely true, especially recently with the story of “The Average Talentless Nobody Who Got the Attention of America Who is Now Rich Beyond Their Wildest Dreams” becoming so common.
Attention is a very powerful tool, and I believe it may be the outstanding culprit of our generation’s preoccupation with technology. Attention is the tried and true way to ensnare the nation. I believe it is perpetuated by the way of thinking that Carr spoke of that changes the way people who use technology frequently process and store information. To be famous for something trivial was not in the eye of the public until Kris Kardashian created one of the most daunting lucrative celebrity networks that anyone had ever seen. Nowadays it is a lot more common to see someone’s “fifteen minutes of fame” stretched and squeezed for all its worth. (I mean everyone knows the Cash Me Ousside girl) Attention is the what drives this fame. If you can get the attention of the nation, you are set. There’s no better song to illustrate our drive to win the preoccupation of other’s than one of my favorites.