Commercial Attention: Advertising, Space, & New Media in the U.S.

Commercial Attention: Advertising, Space, & New Media in the U.S.

History Hangout: Conversation with Jacob Saindon


The “attention economy” has gotten lots of press in recent years as tech companies and advertising firms have begun to perceive human attention as a limited resource and to fight for their share of the potential revenue to be generated by it. However, the concept of human attention as an economically valuable resource goes back well beyond digital technologies at least to the early years of mass media and motivational psychology. 

In his dissertation project, Jacob Saindon, PhD candidate in geography at the University of Kentucky, explores the historical and spatial aspects of the American attention economy in its present digital form and its analog predecessors. Using historical collections held in the Hagley Library, including the Batten, Barton, Durstine, and Osborn (BBD&O) collection, Saindon illuminates the relationships between digital “spaces,” human perception, and the material world.  

In support of his work, Saindon received funding from the Center for the History of Business, Technology, and Society at the Hagley Museum and Library

The audio version of this program is available on our podcast.