Module 3: The Attention Economy and Information Disorder
Module 3 of the Digital Literacy Lab for Educators (DLLE) MOOC expands upon the twin sketches of the far-reaching opportunities and challenges we face when we go online, as explored at the end of Module 2. Discussion of what we understand by a range of phenomena – the ‘attention economy’, ‘filter bubbles’, ‘echo chambers’ and ‘information disorder’ – brings us to the heart of 2020’s trending topics: the infodemic that has accompanied the Covid-19 pandemic, and the popular Netflix documentary, The Social Dilemma, which was released in autumn 2020.
Watch the DLLE Module 3 Videos
Drawing on the work of the growing ‘counter attention economy army’ (Tim Wu, Cal Newport, Tristan Harris, amongst others), this clip gives a potted history of an industry founded upon a rush to extract the highest number of daily eyeball minutes from us whilst turning us into passive products (no matter what mission statements claim). In other words, here, Dr Emma Pauncefort surveys the business model underpinning household names whilst giving us a stark reminder that – to cite Newport – ‘technology is not neutral’ (2019). Instead, unless we take preventative measure, it can control our time and, even more nefariously, shape what we believe and do.
Additional Videos in Module 3
- Why the Attention Economy should matter to us unpicks how the attention economy has precipitated a frightening mental health crisis in young people.
- The Attention Economy and Attention Resistance: Exercising Digital Management charts the recent growth of the attention resistance movement and highlights that individually-devised digital management is our way of ensuring digital advancement enhances rather than undermines our personal and professional lives.
- Information Disorder underlines the need to work with a spectrum between ‘good’ and ‘poor’ information rather than two clear, opposing categories.
Further Study Content
- How a handful of tech companies control billions of minds, Tristan Harris.
- The business of keeping us hooked, Adam Alter.
- How technology gets us hooked, Adam Alter.
- The seven most common types of information disorder, First Draft News.
- Why we don’t say f*** news, Claire Wardle (First Draft News).
- On Digital Minimalism and Pandemics, Cal Newport.
- Have Smartphones destroyed a generation, Jean Twenge (The Atlantic).