Attention Economics – A 15 minute course
The first question – what is attention? Are the rules of the attention economy similar to other economies?
Attention is fundamentally about time – while David could talk for hours about this, he really only has 15 minutes.
Attention is time directed to a purpose by people. In a captialist system we talk about scarcity of resources, space, money, capital. An economic system isn’t only defined by what is scarce, but it’s a good tool to use to determine tradeoffs.
What’s scarce in the attention economy, and how does it express itself on the net? CPU cycles are not scarce, nor is storage. Network bandwidth is not really scarce, though people in the US might think so. Money is plentiful, at least for those in advanced economies. Time is scarce – there’s nothing we can do to extend the amount of time in a day, lifespans don’t increase very quickly. Information is not scarce in this new world of abundance, as a matter of fact we all feel information overload. If you combine the relatively finite set of people with the finite amount of time, people only have a certain amount of time to have meaningful social relationships with a limited number of people.
The scarce resources are time and people.
You can’t hoard time- use it or lose it – a perishable resource, like fruits and vegetables, or hotel rooms.
Aggregate attention artifacts – whatever we can do to capture the artifacts of how we spend our time should be valuable – look at how google and yahoo value their clickstream data. It’s implicit metadata
Productivity – one of the core insights from Technorati was “how do I make it easy to find out what people are saying about me, right now?”. Technorati helps save time.
How can this be applied? Incorporate an understanding of TIME and PEOPLE into your design of your applications. Look at memeorandum – builds fundamentally an understanding of time (when something was created or posted) and linking behavior, to show people what’s popular at the moment.Or in Technorati, you can use your friends as a social filter.
Attention is both a currency and a perishable – make it easy to create and express attention.
Hyperlinks are votes of attention
Create opportunities for economies of scale.