Attention and Popularity

James Govenor refers to Attention as being:

like, all about being “popular”, which is fine if you’re in high school in Santa Monica but is really no basis for living.

An excerpt from Wikipedia on popularity:

General popularity usually involves respect in two directions: the popular person is respected by his peers, and will simultaneously show them respect, thus reinforcing their belief that he is deserving of his popularity.

This reciprocal nature of interpersonal popularity is often overlooked by people (particularly the young) who are attempting to become popular

From The End by The Beatles:

in the end the love you take is equal to the love you make

The currency of popularity is respect and attention is a type of respect. In terms of living one’s life attention is extremely valuable. Where someone places their attention is all about living, anyone one with children understands the reciprocal nature of attention.

The attention you get is equal to the attention you give.

James Governor’s RSS Feed
Respect Is More Important Than Attention.

Wikipedia on Popularity

Why my Attention doesn’t scale

We all have been faced with overwhelming demands on our attention from cell phones to our kids and everything in between. In a previous post I used the idea of caller ID as an example of the relationship between attention, identity and reputation. The problem well illustrated by the caller ID example is the lack of scalability of my attention in that scenario. Caller ID as an attention efficiency is dependant on my on-board identity management and reputation system. That dependency requires that I be present and attentive to the incoming call.

So, I am the limiting factor it turns out (that seems obvious) in many situations through out the day. I know who I trust, who my friends are, what my preferences are, what the state of past relationships are, and the value I place on my time. The critical information needed to scale my attention is not formally known much beyond me.

Today we have wonderful Identity and Reputation silos in Google, Microsoft and eBay, just to name a few. I can, within those silos, replicate some part of my on-board identity management and reputation systems. The silos allow all parties to make explicit their trust for other parties (usually only within the silo, but that is changing) and make that trust known to specified parties within the silo. This facilitation of trust creates opportunities to make all parties attention more efficient, effective and valuable. The silos scale my attention within the silos, not when I’m channel surfing (I am tivoless).

Sadly, the scalability of the current silo model is crippled (in some cases deliberately). I have to manage multiple silos, much of my attention resides outside of the available silos, and a significant part of my on-board identity management and reputation systems is not in the silos. Resulting in my swapping between silos and my on-board systems all the while makeing my attention less efficient and effective.

If we are going to build an Attention economy we must have identity and reputation infrastructure that is more ubiquitous, reliable, secure, and open than the silos we have today.

Or maybe I should just get Tivo.

Identity, Reputation, Trust, then Attention

I was reading Ed Batista’s blog over at Attention Trust. He commented on a post by James Governor from RedMonk on Respect as it relates to attention. James points out:

Respect is what matters. Trust emerges from respect.

Respect can underpin attention but attention shouldn’t underpin respect. Make a contribution. Don’t obsess about inbound links, column inches or TV appearances.

I agree with James, respect and trust are critical components in an attention economy. Identity and reputation (includes respect) are the foundations of an attention economy and underpin trust which sustains attention. Identity, reputation and trust are regulators of my attention. Caller ID exemplifies the role of identity and reputation, once the callers identity is know or not know (aka private call) one can determine based on the callers reputation or lack there of if the caller is worthy of attention.

I agree there are limits to attention just like there were limits to space flight in the 1950’s, we have some technical, economic, social and political issues to resolve. These issues if not resolved will cripple the attention economy and leave consumers as poor sharecroppers on corporate information farms.

James Governor’s RSS Feed
Respect Is More Important Than Attention.

Ed Batista at Attention Trust RSS Feed