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. The sum of the two numbers is your answer.

Written by John Rector

John Rector is the President at Social Media Target, LLC. He is the co-founder of E2OPEN. His original works (videos, images and blog posts) are seen by millions of social media users daily. At IBM, he implemented Supply Chain Management (SCM) solutions at the top 50 electronics companies in Asia, The Americas and Europe. He is the winner of six Golden Circles.

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