A Maker’s Ethos in the Era of Networked Attention

Once upon a time, we faced the scourge of Information Overload. Too many emails with too many details producing too many open loops to keep track of.

But now we have a new challenge: the Information Apocalypse. Not only is there far too much information to consume or manage, much of that information has now been weaponized. Whether it’s retargeted ads chasing us across the web, mobile apps designed for addiction, or emotionally charged news hitting us on every channel, it can often feel like we’re living in the informational end times. 

But I believe that makers have something to offer the broader society in these dark days: an ethos that subordinates information consumption to the act of producing things of objective value. Being a maker today is a radical act. It means treasuring the insightful, the subtle, and the private, in a world that increasingly prizes only the novel, the sensational, and the public. 

Being a maker requires patience when we’ve been trained to switch our focus constantly. It calls for reflection when we’ve been trained to react. It asks us to revisit an idea again and again until we’ve truly distilled its essence, instead of refreshing a feed for the newest of the new.

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