Expedia just emailed me for the sixth time this week, with the majority of the emails containing attention grabbing emojis in the subject lines, in a way I had never seen before:
I’m not sure what happened this week. Does Expedia have a new marketing strategy? Have I been algorithmically marked as a customer they’re at risk of losing? I suspect the latter, as I booked 4 trips to Europe in the space of two weeks last month and haven’t booked anything since.
Such examples are individually trivial. But I argue in my new book that escalation dynamics lead to a competitive spiral, comprising copying and innovation, characterising attempts to capture the attention of increasingly distracted people. The cumulative impact of this tendency is to an increase in the background noise of social life, an outcome of much sociological significance which sociology is currently ill equipped to grasp due to the lack of a meaningful sociology of thinking.