There is only so much attention (available from other humans), and many or most of us want more than we have.
In order to get attention one needs to express or do something — let us say, perform in some way. (This can be putting forth information, but that is not particularly what, e.g., a trapeze artist does.)
The more attention we get in comparison with the attention we pay in putting together our total performance, the greater our attention productivity. The more attention we have, period, the more influential we are.
The more attention you get now, or have gotten in the past, the more attention you can get in the future. (Attention wealth is stored in the minds of the attention payers.)
Having others’ attention means you can rely on some attentiveness from them as well. Attentiveness is a willingness to satisfy your desires whatever they may be — as long as these desires do not go too much against what the attention payers (audients) would otherwise want.
Though all this has always been true, new attention technologies, and particularly the Internet, make all this work much more directly. They make it easy for more of us to seek attention, and if and when we get it, to have other desires satisfied as well.
(Thanks to Seth Goldstein for asking a question that inspired this.)