UPDATE : 2018.5.15 화 17:14

[Vol. 78] Attention Takers: Why Do They Crave Attention?

엄해인 기자l승인2017.11.29

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Andy Warhol, a leading figure in pop art, once said, “Be famous, and they will give you tremendous applause even when you are actually pooping.” In social media, this sentence is changed into “Just poop, and you will be famous. Thus, they will give you tremendous applause.” Here are some people who crave for attentions, and sometimes behave recklessly just in order to get attention: attention seekers.

In 2015, one mommy blogger, Lacey Spears became famous in the USA because of her shocking behavior which led to her baby’s death. She had become popular by publishing her life of taking care of her sick son Garnett-Paul Spears, but in fact, she was killing her son by giving him a lethal dose of salt continuously. Experts said that she displayed classic signs of the mental illness, Munchausen syndrome by proxy, which causes caretakers to purposefully hurt their child to get attention. Attention seekers are all around the world, not just in the USA. This April, a TV program named Non-summit issued a bill about attention seekers and showed some examples from each country. One of them was an actress from Egypt who announced her death to the public. In fact, it was revealed that she was alive; she lied to the public to get attention.

It is no exception for Korea. One famous Facebook star suggested to the public that if he got a certain amounts of ‘Likes’, he would do some stunts. For example, he promised the public that he would eat firecrackers if he got more than 100 thousand ‘Likes’. Being run over by a car for 150 thousand ‘Likes’, and chewing cactus for 200 thousand ‘Likes’ were other examples. He actually did all of these things, and got the wanted attention from the public. On the other hand, one of the Korea’s most famous streamers, Chul Koo, used to do lots of provocative things and say some imprudent words to get attention. His Youtube play lists consist of lewd titles such as ‘Various Dirty Kisses of Chul Koo’ and ‘Real Reviews of using Adult Supplies’. Also, he does not hesitate to say bad words or demean social minorities like disabled people, women, children, and seniors in his broadcasting.

Attention seekers not only negatively affect themselves by doing risky behaviors, but also influences their surroundings and viewers of their content. According to The Herald Business, about five students in an elementary school class said they want to be a streamer in the future, which means the streamer is one of the most admired jobs to students nowadays. Students learn bad words containing meanings of disparagement and aversion from Youtube videos, and imitate some streamer’s impolite and abnormal behaviors which were conducted in order to get attention.

What is worse, the number of videos containing bad elements is not small, and is increasing sharply. According to the Korea Communications Commission, there were 718 Internet broadcastings which contained harmful content in 2016. This is four times more than the prior year. In addition, the seriousness is that these provocative videos can be shown to everyone without limitations. It is hard to restrict the contents of videos with insults or eccentricities, because those behaviors are not illegal acts.

Are You an Attention Taker? If you say yes to more than five items, you truly are!

1. You feel nervous if your posts do not have any ‘Likes’ or ‘Comments.’
2. You frequently upload pictures which are sexually provocative.
3. You expose your changeable emotions in social media.
4. You do not upload your pictures that are not edited, being conscious of others.
5. You have an experience of uploading fake daily life to get peoples’ reaction.
6. You have an experience of referring to yourself in the third-person singular.
7. You notify others that you are sensitive to environmental changes and get easily hurt from other’s saying.
8. You think that friends from social media are friendly with you.
9. You upload more than 7 posts every week in social media.
10. You are told by other people to stop using social network services.

Why do attention takers behave abnormally to get attention? One reason they want to get attention from people is the money that comes with the influence of social media. When they get a lot of ‘Likes’ in Facebook, they can get advertisement profits allowing promotions on their Facebook accounts. Also, Star Balloons people get on Afreeca TV and the number of views of the Youtube videos are switched into money, and it stimulates people to create contents which bring up a lot of clicks. There are even some people who grow the size of the account by making many people subscribe to it and hand it over to specific corporations or people with a lot of money. Another reason for being attention takers is more psychological by nature. They remember the moments others pay attention to them and try to reinforce it by reenacting that moment again and again. Their desire for craving attention are based on the desire to emphasize their existence and make people remember them continuously.

As social media grows rapidly, producers and consumers are keeping ‘interactive relationships.’ They get each other’s feedback and produce contents in the deluge of social media. Some producers make negative contents for the reason that those are what viewers want and what producers can gather a lot of people easily from. However, as they are primary members of society, they have the responsibility not to create sensational and negative contents. Consumers, correspondingly, have the responsibility to think about who determines the contents in social network services and make positive cyber environments with producers. Who makes the social media world full of attention seekers through violence and insults, the so-called SNS stars hanging themselves in attention or the public who pour ‘Likes’ into their unhealthy behaviors?

The legal officer in the National Assembly, Choi Jin-eung, said, “The most profitable creators’ contents in the USA are based on healthy subjects such as living and cosmetics. In Korea, the wrong culture is settled that violent and disgusting broadcastings make earnings.” He recommended people to try to change the frame itself of popular contents. Also, a lot of experts are insisting on strengthening the regulations and managements of contents, enabling producers and consumers to make autonomous purification together in the social media world.

Basically, the easiest way to solve attention seekers’ problems is to help them become individuals that do not crave attention. Attention itself is an indispensable element for human beings, and it is not strange to expect attention from others. The problem appears when the desire connects with violence, exposure, self-torment, and improper behaviors. From house to several institutions, it is becoming important to develop peoples’ abilities to express and get attention in proper ways. Now, it is time to fill society with positive attention energy!
 


엄해인 기자  umhaein@naver.com
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