Have you ever thought about how much time you spend chasing attention?
All those status updates, tweets, emails to bookers, podcast recordings, YouTube videos, open mic appearances and assorted other comedic activities that you pursue are likely motivated in large part by your desire to get people’s attention.
Chances are, you spend a ton of time chasing attention. But have you ever taken a moment to think about why? And whether that’s actually the best use of your time?
Attention is overrated. And the time you spend chasing it can probably be better spent in other ways.
That’s because just getting somebody to pay attention to you doesn’t necessarily do you any good. Attention only matters if it leads to something – if gets you closer to accomplishing your goals.
In most cases, comics aren’t chasing the right kind of attention – they’re happy to have anybody pay attention to them, regardless of whether or not the people who notice them are likely to be able to help further their career goals or not.
Most comics cast too wide a net when they chase attention.
I’m certainly not suggesting that you shouldn’t use social media, or create videos and podcasts, or pursue stage time, or that there isn’t any value to attention. Rather, I’m suggesting that there’s probably more efficient way to go about it.
What would happen if instead of chasing attention, you concentrated your efforts on earning it?
That may seem like a subtle semantic difference, but it’s not.
The way you earn attention is to provide value and solve problems for people. It’s by being remarkable (as Seth Godin often references). That’s very different than chasing attention.
To earn somebody’s attention, you (or your comedy) have to speak directly to their needs, thoughts, fears, hopes, and experiences. You have to prove that you’ll always care more about them than they do about you. And thus, the bigger a fan they become of what you do, the more important they are to you…and you treat them as such.
Earning somebody’s attention is not easy and it’s certainly more difficult than it is to just chase their attention. But it’s also much more rewarding, valuable, and the way you can build a sustainable long-term fanbase and career.
Just something to think about the next time you’re fretting over your follower count or spamming people to come see your next show.