"The liberation of human attention may be the defining moral and political struggle of our time." -James Williams, Stand Out of Our Light

Dear reader,

As we barrel into the 2020s, it seems like a good time to address some concerns we have with the term "attention economy." Namely, just like the term "fake news," it’s starting to mean so many different things that it’s on the verge of meaning nothing at all. Which is unfortunate, because ultimately we're talking about something pretty important: how humans get information about the world. The devil's in the details, but that's also where the answers are. So let's jump in.

First of all, when we talk about attention economies, we're usually referring to a bunch of companies that are actually not in the attention business at all. On the flip side, they profit on distractions (ads) and your inability to focus. So we should call them distraction economies.

All distraction economies have the same currency and the same business model, but each uses slightly different language to describe identical mechanics: likes are upvotes; retweets are shares. And for all stakeholders (except ad buyers) the experience is inherently extractive, versus, say, enriching or enlightening.

We love words, but we're proud to say that Readup is a whole lot more than just new language. It's a completely different system.

Readup was designed for one thing and one thing only: reading. It's an act that requires your full consciousness. And, we think, that's what makes it so enjoyable, as well as enriching and enlightening. Work, by definition, is meaningful. Paying attention -- deep thoughts in general -- feel good.

Because we believe in the power of deep, focused reading, we found a way to measure and quantify that information (the completion of an article; reading something to the end) and now we’re using that as the new currency to build the social reading platform of the future. Thus:

Readup is the world’s first true attention economy!

So, yeah: Long live attention! Long live reading! Long live Readup!