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Surprise vs. Wonder

Surprise is the difference between what is expected and experienced. You open the door and it’s 20 degrees colder than expected. That’s a surprise. You wonder what is behind the door. Wonder is your imagination negotiating your reality.

Your forcefield never sleeps. It is always ON. It is always sensing, processing, analyzing, negotiating, reporting, and notifying. The security and comfort you seek depends on it.

Your attention does not waste energy on outcomes or high probability events because both lack surprise and wonder.

We go to Google for answers. We walk our dog (aka human attention) in social media. Our human attention is designed for surprise and wonder. Google sells answers. Facebook sells surprise and wonder.

Every human has attention. That attention is like a forcefield that surrounds you. You don’t give your attention to anything. It is already given. Your forcefield has a trillion 360 degree sensors that are measuring change (surprise) and negotiating new information (wonder).

In order to predict how much human attention will be consumed by social media experiences, we need to calculate surprise differently from wonder. Surprise is the delta expressed as a ratio. The formula is actual / expected. Your attention system in cooperation with your subconscious memory has an expectation about pretty much everything. When our actual experience exceeds this expectation, we are surprised. In the rare cases, our subconscious memory does not have an expectation, we are in wonder.

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