The attention economy - the issue and what we can do about it


We are joining the ‘Attention economy’ track at Internetdagarna (organised by TWS) to talk about the topics that triggered the Time Well Spent movement – attention economics, the “free” business model and technology that seems to work us rather than work for us.

The topics are heavily discussed in relation to social media, streaming services and dating apps – everywhere where our attention is the currency. It is not all bad. Many new digital services provide value by connecting people over distance, providing alternative channels and sources in politically unstable regions as well as giving equal access regardless of wallet. But it is seemingly clear that it has its backsides to say the least. The attention based services mean that we pay with our time and data, often without knowing how much time and which data. It also has consequences on our attention and communication outside of those channels, as well as how we approach and consume information and news.

We believe we all – users, public, companies, politics, stakeholders – need to pitch in to solve the challenges related to this if we want to create a sustainable digital world. We need to work on the behaviors, culture, incentives, governance, organisational structures and design techniques that have driven this development to figure out how we can steer it differently and construct services in a sustainable way. And especially the latter is central to us. As human centered designers we are unhappy to see the techniques mis-used and the spread of manipulative and non-transparent design.

This is why we are part of TWS. We want to see design being used the right and in a responsible way, and are always thinking about how to facilitate a sustainable way to construct and think about the digital space – both for makers as well as users. So that all can take ownership and decisions in the virtual world. And ‘the how’ is what we look forward to discuss in these sessions. See you there on November 25th!

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