Productivity and Promiscuity: Paying Undivided Attention

  • Robert PayneEmail author


This chapter interrogates technologies of undivided attention within a networked culture that constantly invites consumers to divide their attention. Examples of distraction-limiting software are discursively analysed to point out some of the contradictions of the attention economy, notably that the entrepreneurial impulse of capitalist-driven networks and producers pushes consumers constantly to pay attention to multiple sites and services at the same time as the development of attention-holding products like productivity apps suggests the failure of the former model. The anomaly of undivided attention is situated within the context of network promiscuity, which is characterised by the proliferation and measurement of multiple intimacies among digital media users and between users and their media that are put to work for the economic benefit of media corporations and advertisers. The chapter ultimately questions the norms that determine the value of attention, including network culture’s implicit judgements of who and what are the deserving objects of consumer distraction.


Productivity apps Digital promiscuity Network culture 


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.The American University of ParisParisFrance

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