Chasing Attention is a Bad Thing (but It’s So Hard Not to Do)

series of photos by René te Witt http://www.sxc.hu/profile/renetewittTwo weeks ago I wrote a post at my Someday Box blog which I’m inordinately proud of. My fans responded by making it the busiest day I’ve ever had at any blog in 11 years. By a factor of 3 — yes, one post tripled my best day ever.

And now, the following days of normal traffic look puny and sad.

When kids say something surprising and get a laugh, they do it again.

And again.

And again.

If what they said is inappropriate, and the laugh was shock and surprise, you’ve created a monster.

If what they said was cute, you’ve still created a monster. The immediate positive feedback fires up chemicals in our brain which some people are willing to die for. Literally. Willing to give up the necessary functions of life in order to keep that feeling.

So how is an insecure guy like me supposed to ignore the lure of such powerful praise?

Witness the epic struggle between my prefrontal cortex, where the thinking happens, and my limbic system, where the neon exploding storm of joy happens.

I’ll continue writing what I believe has value, both in my need to express it and in others’ desire to learn from it.

Ahoy, Ahab; where do we keep the harpoons?

2 thoughts on “Chasing Attention is a Bad Thing (but It’s So Hard Not to Do)

  1. I reallllly understand you, Joel. You made your feelings quite clear (again) and that’s good enough to keep drawing everyone back. (not that they’ve left you or anything ya know…)

    1. Sometimes I forget that purely emotional writing is still engaging. I keep trying to be sure there’s a logical point, a lesson, a solid foundation, circles and arrows and a paragraph on the back of each one explaining what it is to be used in a court of law and all that.

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