#3372 Created 04/26/2013 Updated 04/26/2013
Consumer Behavior Creates The Structure Of Produced Realities
There is a complimentary relationship between media’s "produced realities" (TV, movies, sports, politics, religion, social media) and the Attention Field. Like two sides of a coin, a full product-audience coupling.
Just as “content” and the structure that produces the content are individually incomplete views of a larger phenomena, the produced realities and the enmeshed audience are two incomplete views of a larger construct.
There is a temptation to consider the product and the consumer separately. After all, one is an artificial media construct and the other is a human being. But the physicality of the human and the ephemeral nature of media are not relevant, as the entire action is played out in the mind of the human, within the human awareness that constructs the "movie" of life out of all that comes from the imagination, along with that which flows in through the eyes and ears and body.
We enter and "live" for moments in media-produced realities. The business model of media is to entice a consumer’s attention to "enter" and "experience” a world constructed with words and images, a world created in the mind of the consumer. This media world is produced through human intent for the primary purpose of engaging the attention of media consumers. Once so engaged, the consumer consumes the experience – the “content” -- in some fashion, usually through observation, often with interaction.
The consumers’ individual motives are not relevant. Their attention-presence alone fulfills the purpose for which those mental media places exist. The details of the content consumed, and the motivations of the individual consumers are equally unconnected to the fact of their presence. The ocean does not care why the lemmings jump. Once they jump, they are just part of the ocean. Bad lemming metaphor, I know. But you get what I mean.
Whether it’s a online news*, YouTube cats, or 15 minutes of Facebook, the media construct is successful in holding the consumer’s attention. And it is the aggregate attention of all of those consumers who are online -- at that moment! -- that constitutes the live attention “field”. From moment to moment, the marketing question behind the facade remains the same: who are you right now, and how are you situated in relationships?
The constant audience in the Attention Field is composed of individuals who come and go at different times, but the body of the audience is always there, always awake. It maintains robustness throughout the day with hundreds of millions of consumers of broadcast, cable, mobile, and Web involved in reading, posting, commenting, consuming, purchasing, looking, and searching. Always different, and always the same.
Structure is the effect of behavior. Content is the source of behavior.
* While cable and broadcast are not "online" in the interactive sense, they are almost always simultaneously physically turned on in the consumer's environment when the consumer is online, and become defacto components of the media environment. Further, both broadcast and cable are time-addressable, meaning that a particular signal can be transmitted as a particular time to the network, resulting in simultaneous appearance of messages in multiple consumer environments. There is routine synchronicity with online events.