The Secret to Focusing Your Digital Attention

February 17th, 2010 § 0 comments

The internet is becoming infinitely denser, it’s your job to filter it

Written by Everett Bogue | Follow me on Twitter.

Every day more people decide to start publishing. More voices enter the web, all frantically crying out for attention.

In the early days of the web, it was a simple matter to keep track of all of the information yourself. Only a few sources of information existed.

It was a simpler time.

But most of the information was boring, so it was destined to change.

Now there is infinite remarkable material, contrasted with infinite trash.

The biggest problem is finding the good stuff. This is where we all enter the equation.

Everyone adds their bit to the web, and the result is a great equalizer. The power is no longer in the hands of the media, it is no longer in the hands of the governments, it is no longer in the hands of the corporations.

The power is in your hands now.

You are the filter of your digital reality.

You decide what to consume every day. You decide what you pass on to the people who you lead every day.

The thing is, you have the choose. Every one of us is a filter of our digital reality.

Each of us makes major decisions every day, such as:

  • Where do I focus my attention?
  • What do I share with the people who focus on me?
  • What do I publish?

I talk to many people who are seeking popularity on the web. They want to know how to get a lot of followers, they want to know how they can be heard. There is no easy answer to these questions, but I can tell you where to start.

You need to cultivate an intelligent filter of digital reality.

If every single bit of information that flows through is valuable, people will come to you to listen to that value.

You are only as valuable as the information you choose to pass on to the people who follow you.

  • If you contribute nothing, your value online is zero.
  • If you contribute garbage, your value online is garbage.
  • If you contribute value, you will be valuable online.

Your growth online is in direct correlation with these metrics. This is why I tell everyone who starts a blog that they must think first about how they can help people, and then think about themselves.

This isn’t about you, it’s about everyone else.

  • If you contribute nothing, your growth will stagnate.
  • If you contribute garbage, you lose authority and followers.
  • If you contribute value, you will see measurable growth.

It doesn’t matter if you’re using Facebook, Twitter, or you’re a blogger. All of these rules apply.

It doesn’t matter if you’re a photographer, a scientist, a painter, or you roast coffee beans. All of these rules apply.

If you publish remarkable, intelligent, and useful information with every interaction with the web, you will grow on online and offline.

The secret to success online should be obvious, but it’s not.

You would think this would be obvious, but very few people understand the full potential of interacting this way. These people fling information into the ether with no regard to whether it’s useful or not, and they do it as much as they possibly can. These people believe they can maintain attention via the sheer volume of material that they send out, but it doesn’t work that way. Volume does not equal quality.

It’s your job to filter out these people. Don’t retweeet their stuff, don’t ‘Like’ their blog posts. Unsubscribe from these people. If you aren’t gaining value from something, don’t pass it on.

I follow less than 100 people on Twitter. I read less than 15 blogs on Google Reader. I’m only following 15 people on Google Buzz at this moment. My attention is finite, because if I spend all day reading nonsense, I get nothing done.

How finite is your attention?

Are you willing to bounce around all day reading stuff that doesn’t help you?

Are you spending all day reading and reacting?

Or are you creating and publishing value?

Or are you creating remarkable content that helps people?

This is the secret that every successful person online is trying to tell you. Just contribute value. That is all you need to do.

A remarkable idea naturally spreads across time and space.

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