Advertising is the means in which we have monetized our attention. The trail blazers for this new commodity trace back as early as 1833, one of which was Benjamin Day. Mr. Day was a pioneer for selling ads in a newspaper that he created for the common person. He underpriced his competition by showcasing local businesses and merchants. This new idea that financing could come from advertising rather than paper sales was a revelation. Day also changed the way we viewed news. He was neither political nor propagating his own agenda. Others learned by Day and followed his lead by printing news that the general public would be interested in. This led to the development of larger ads, such as attention-grabbing posters and billboards. Over time society began to reject such drastic advertising methods and since have encouraged regulation. Today our attention is harvested by almost every medium and the competition to grab us is fierce.


As a publicist, my expertise is largely based on obtaining the attention of a targeted audience. There are several ways to achieve this, but the key is understanding channel options and how the audience interacts with each one. For instance, understanding the when and where is as relevant today as it was a century ago. The way in which we communicate with our publics may have evolved, but the basics remain the same. People engage when they are invested, interested and entertained.

Wu, T. (2016). Chapter 1—The First Attention Merchants. In The Attention Merchants: The Epic Scramble to Get Inside Our Heads (pp 11-23). Knopf.