from Seth’s Blog
Perhaps the biggest cultural change of my lifetime has been the growing influence and ubiquity of commercial media in our lives.
Commercial media companies exist to make a profit, and they’ve grown that profit faster than just about any industry you can name.
At first, it was the scarcity created by the FCC (a few channels) and mass markets that led the industry. Now, though, it’s a chaotic system with different rules.
A system that rewards certain outputs, relentlessly, generating ever more of those outputs. The participants all believe that the ends will justify the means, all believe that in the end, it’ll lead to a positive outcome. But, taken together, over time, drip, drip, drip, the system wins.
They do this by engaging with ever more of our time, our decisions and our systems. They do this by selling not just ads, but the stories and expectations that change the way we engage with those ads.
They sow dissatisfaction—advertising increases our feeling of missing out, and purchasing offers a momentary respite from that dissatisfaction.