Saturday, August 14, 2010

The Attention Economy.

Of the many many things we'll learn as our tribe grows, and shares our collective knowledge, this just might, just very well may be one of the top ten things we need to understand.

The Attention Economy.
And from that, we derive the concept of separating signal from noise.
And from this,  we derive the concept of that for every signal there is a sender and receiver.

Take this blog.
There are, give or take, 42 million blogs out there .

If it was more directed at a general audience, I would be competing for attention with those blogs. Fortunately for me, I am not competing with those blogs. I am sending out a specific signal to specific receivers.
Furthering that, I want to ever refine the relationship between the sender and the receiver for the explicit purpose of creating value for all of us.

What the attention economy is is the scarse amount of your attention and where, how and on what you chose to spend that attention. Ninety percent of people waste their spending of their attention. I want to talk to the ten percent who don't want to waste that attention.

There is a key point here in social networking (the veritable sea of senders and receivers, the vast universe of noise in search of attention, the vast majority of which is senseless noise to 98% of people), you want to create and send a clear and valuable signal to receivers who find it of value. In a dynamic two way environment (an inherent weakness of blogs. Not entirely, but they are more designed to send signals rather than receive them and interact the signals.), there should be a process to refine and clarify the signal between senders and receivers (along with the passive followers!) with the explicit purpose of creating value for all involved.

There are three incredibly valuable things that emerge from this:
We create value above and beyond what previously existed (key to growth)
We create trust and reputation. (key to value)
We create signal from the noise. (key to prospering in the attention economy)

The ecology of the social media will not be getting less crowded any time soon. Those that can create signal between sender and receiver (the larger the passive audience the better!!), those that can create trust and reputation, those that can create value in this ever increasing sea of noise--that is, attract and hold attention will have a huge advantage over those that can't.

Bonus points!!

Do you want to understand why superstar athletes get so much money? Why Super Bowl  ads can get 100,000s  of dollars per second?
The key to understanding that is the attention economy. The Super Bowl and Tiger Woods (et al) attract and hold attention. In an economy where the only scarce resource is your attention, that has enormous value.

(hat tip: I picked up on and want to credit  the concept of the Attention Economy to an article from Wired magazine from around 12 years ago. I do not recall the writer.)
(bonus points to whomever can send me who that was!)

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