In 2019, I wrote a post (“Sleepwalking into the Matrix“) about the rise in demand for escape from the crashing climate (and economic decline) meeting a rise in supply from firms offering escape into a matrix-like environment (now known as the “metaverse”). This recent newsletter gives an interesting (scary) update on the firms pushing on the supply side (as well as the emptiness of all the tech promises).
Read: A data-journalist reflects on his firing from Faux News (after calling AZ for Biden). One observation: Unable to sell large, diverse audiences to advertisers, news outlets increasingly focus on developing highly habituated users. To cultivate the kind of intense readers, viewers or listeners necessary to make the addiction model profitable, media companies need consumers to have strong feelings. Fear, resentment and anger work wonders. It helps news outlets create deep emotional connections to users not just as users of a product, but as members of the same tribe…. news that is bad for your audience’s ideological in-groups is clickbait kryptonite. In such a competitive marketplace, riling people up against the other side isn’t enough. You’ve also got to create a safe space for consumers to plop down and contentedly contemplate ads for beet-based nutrient powders, reverse mortgages and copper underpants. If you challenge their assumptions or suggest that their avatars in the culture war are wrong or losing, they may leave for competitors who offer more complete protection from harsh realities.