INTERNET COMPANIES MAKE billions of dollars by capturing one of the world’s most precious commodities: your attention. They need to amuse, amaze, entice, and intrigue you—and millions of users like you—to stay afloat and profit.
But figuring out what you want to read, watch, and see is harder than it looks. At Facebook, serving your wants and needs comes down to algorithms—click on something, and you’ll see more of that thing, and things like it. At Twitter, your desires are met via your choices—follow certain people, you’ll see updates from them. But, when it comes to channeling the most attention-grabbing content, it turns out that automation, or users left to their own devices, might not be enough.