A current popular application for phones is called "Tik Tok." This app (first called "Musical.ly") is a master of short-attention-span-satisfaction, giving those who watch a virtual "snack" with every new video. Videos are most often somewhere between 15 and 30 seconds long, feature a song or sound in the background of a video that is coordinated with the rhythm of the audio. It started out with songs that lasted around 15 seconds with young people dressed in cosplay costumes or really specific, well-done makeup, lip-syncing the words to the song. The videos are often sped up or slowed down to create interesting rhythmic effects.
It stemmed from the famous "Vine" app that only allowed six-second looping long video clips that entertained spoke to some sort of true experience of everyday people, often humorously.
These apps are a perfect example of this idea of the Attention Economy being polished and used superbly to keep people's attention for long stretches of time. Videos on Tik Tok often ask for the like (or a "heart") and follow afterwards in order to increase the creator's influence and appearance on the app and other social media sites.
A creative response to this Attention Economy Consuming app comes from within the app itself. Contributors/creators on the app (everyday people, usually teenagers to college students) have posted Tik Tok videos telling people who are watching to stop and go to sleep.
What many users know is that it's easy to get caught up in watching video after video after video on the app before bed, and stay up for far more time than intended just watching more and more short videos. The content of Tik Tok and other similar apps creates a cycle of dissatisfaction. The more you consume, the more you want to consume and the never-ending cyclical watching and scrolling through entertaining bits and trends continues on.
When users post a video that encourages the viewers to go to bed, this acts as a trigger to release them from the control of their attention that the app has. It's counter to the application's culture. It jars the viewer and creates an opportunity for release. It's like a protest that doesn't resist the app all-together, but seeks a balance in consumption and stepping away. It's a harmonious approach to working with the Attention Economy, spending attention intentionally, like with money, and being purposeful with it or training it.
Ultimately, it creates a good feeling for the viewer, that they were able to consume and "stop when they wanted to" like with an addiction, which is similar to what happens to people who enjoy Tik Tok and Vine and other apps like them. This resistance to staying up all night by helping others watching get to bed is effective at least in that it helps them stop using the app and actually get rest. It's a nice placeholder for the viewer until they're able to stop themselves when they know it's good for them to move on, go to bed, or put their phone down.
It isn't perfect, as it doesn't stop future long-term scrolling sessions, but it's not a solution for that purpose. It's merely a step in the direction of disconnecting more often from being consumed by our phones, but it does work and helps many Tik Tok users put their phone down and get some sleep.