I have become addicted to twitter. There is something about twitter that makes me feel like I am ease dropping on other peoples conversations. At times the bits of conversation I gather are informative and interesting, other times they are nothing but non sequiturs and noise. It’s the latter that drives me nuts. I have commented that twitter is a means of distributing the awareness of the future that has already occurred. I still believe that to be true but I also believe that titter will also go the way of every other common space.
This is why:
There exists within twitter an asymmetry that favors the so called “A” List. I don’t know that I believe the whole “A” list BS but I do believe that there exists a group of people that exploit the herd that follows them on twitter. Jason Calacanis provides a classic example by putting up his “You Should Follow” posts. With this request he creates an audience for the person he recommends (I wonder if he charges for this, I bet Scoble does.). At the same time the audience gets limited value. The recommended person now can send endless plugs for their start-up, book, service, ect.. to no end. At the same time the person following the recommended gets little or no attention from the person Jason just pimped. In my book it is all about quid pro quo, tit for tat. I search for those that interest me and I try to provide some interesting and valuable bits.
In the case of the so called “A” List it’s all one way and it isn’t in your favor.
I have long explained to people the value of the data corporations collect. I have seen first hand the value of large pools of correlated, linked, behavior generated data and as Tim O’Reilly points out in his post so does Google.
My favorite definition of Cognitive** is:
Having a basis in or reducible to empirical factual knowledge.
The key part of the definition as it relates to Tim’s post and Google is “Having a Basis in or reducible to” . I also like “empirical”. Cognition requires data and lots of it. Algorithms are secondary to the data for without the data there is nothing.
Google is just a stalking horse for the coming cognitive economy, there are many other players less public and less chic that are working to exploit the coming opportunities.
**”cognitive.” The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition. Houghton Mifflin Company, 2004. Answers.com 18 Dec. 2007. http://www.answers.com/topic/cognitive
That is the question, is it private or not private, or is it even your data. This all, in an interesting article about search history and how it should be handled (via WSJ).
John Battelle thinks the search engines should take a stronger position.
The Attention Trust lays out the principles that customers should require of their consumers of their attention.
The government is trying to protect your data and at the same time trying to ensure that they have access to it.
The way I see it, its our data without the user Google wouldn’t exist and the government is sanctioned by the people for the people. We need to be more demanding of our online relationships when it comes to the privacy and handling of our data. We also need to be more exacting and demanding of our elected officials in protecting our basic rights. It’s not that the government shouldn’t have access to our Internet activity, that access should follow due process, be visible to the user or their legal representative (in some cases this may be a court) and be transparent. Companies should respect the user’s rights and provide clear mechanisms for customers to exercise those rights. We minimally share copyright on our user data. Companies need to recognize that joint copyright and set forth a framework for collaboration and rights management (which may include explicit termination of rights).
Just my two cents.
Questions in my mind,
What is the value of the history of human behavior (online or offline)? Don’t know, but that information serves us to this day, will Google query history, who knows.
When do the names on a war memorial become obsolete? Never.
What about privacy, can someone refuse to have a family members name on a memorial? Not sure.
Verna Allee gave a presentation at MeshForum 2006 on Value Networks. I think this is a great presentation. She describes:
“A value network is a way at looking at any purposeful organization, company, or network. It is any web of relationships that creates value through complex, dynamic exchanges of tangible and intangible value.”
She makes the case that the economic theory for the new economy is still undefined. She also details how companies have no good way to measure the value of intangible assets. She says the traditional measures are tied to the the creation of tangible assets, which is then reinforced by current economic theory and practice. My favorite part comes at 36:07 minutes into the podcast, she makes a case for using Living systems as a way to think about the new economy (built on intangible assets like Information, talent, capability). At this point she describes why living systems are so great, because the are capable of renewal and are intelligent (an Autopoietic system). Living system’s are Autopoietic because of two types of exchanges; the first type is an exchange of matter and energy, the second type is an exchange of Intelligence (a.k.a. cognitive exchanges). I think she is on to something.
The cognitive economy is really about exchanges of intelligence. If you have not really followed my posts on the Cognitive economy listen to this presentation.
Steve Gillmor if you haven’t heard this presentation yet, you should listen to it. Ed Batista you will also find this presentation interesting. I will have to listen to this one again, I know I’m not doing the presentation justice.
Check it out.
Verna Allee presentation Value Networks at MeshForum 2006 via IT Conversations
IT Conversations RSS feed
More from Verna Allee
More on Autopoiesis via Wikipedia
Eric Norlin in his post Pushing back on Google’s identity silo identifies the biggest barrier to an attention economy.
the fundamental problem at the heart of all of this “identity 2.0” stuff that I’ve been talking about: the existing silos (Google, Yahoo!, eBay, etc.) have *no* immediate business reason for opening their identity silos (at least, not that they can see).
Today all the big players have no incentive to open up. The best incentive to open their identity silos, will be the fear of being isolated from a broader economy. We have to create an economy around their silos and that economy requires a reliable and reputable identity mechanism, all economies do. Without an Internet scale identity system, the attention economy will fall pray to the same gaming that we see with links, comments and Pay Per Click advertising.
Identity enables Property, Mobility, Economy and Transparency. An Internet scale identity system will not guarantee the success of the attention economy. The lack of an Internet scale identity system will ensure the failure of the attention economy.
Eric Norlin’s RSS Feed via Digital ID World
Pushing back on Google’s identity silo
About the Attention Trust
Jason Calacanis made an offer to the top contributors of flickr, Digg, Reddit and Newsvine:
We will pay you $1,000 a month for your “social bookmarking” rights. Put in at least 150 stories a month and we’ll give you $12,000 a year. (note: most of these folks put in 250-400 stories a month, so that 150 baseline is just that–a baseline).
This offer illustrates the dilemma many attention and gesture based applications will face. The most valuable (the famous 20%) contributors are worth cash. Forget what Mike Arrington says about netscape and desperation, he’s really missing the
important point. He thinks that Digg is vulnerable because most stories come from a small number of contributors. Nope not it. Digg is vulnerable because it lacks a fair exchange of value for the high caliber contributors.
Google gives away great applications for free, they make lots of money based on the attention and gestures of the crowd, and they understand the cost for acquiring that data. Today many companies take for granted the attention and gestures they receive and assume that the acquisition cost of that attention and those gestures is limited to hosting and marketing. The companies forget about talent and the fact that the attention and gestures they depend on are jointly owned.
So Jason is right on in his follow up post:
Some entrepreneurs are very threatened by this concept because for the last couple of years they’ve gotten a free ride on the backs of the masses. Now, it’s true that Flickr provided a free service and value to their users, as does DIGG and REDDIT, but the top 1-2% of the users on these services are providing much more value to the companies then they are getting back. There should be a market for the 1%
Jason’s offer is a wake-up call for companies who are free riding on the attention commons. Nice job Jason.
Oh, and my question for Mike Arrington, Which is soulless? The free ride on the community or the offer of a more equitable relationship for those who contribute.
Jason Calacanis’s RSS feed
Paying the top DIGG/REDDIT/Flickr/Newsvine users
Why the Web 2.0 and media elite are so upset about paying amateurs
Mike Arrington’s RSS feed via TechCrunch
Huge Red Flag at Netscape
I was reading Jeffrey Veen’s post titled “Intellectual Bargain Shopping” and found the quote below by Friedrich Nietzsche to be very interesting.
To predict the behavior of ordinary people in advance, you only have to assume that they will always try to escape a disagreeable situation with the smallest possible expenditure of intelligence.
Jeffrey Veen comments on the quote,
I love how this quote turns the tables. Users aren’t stupid, they’re efficient. They’re spending the least amount of effort (i.e. intelligence) as they possible can on each step of the goal they’re trying to achieve. If you make them spend more, they’ll go somewhere else — it’s like intellectual bargain shopping.
Let me refine Jeffrey’s thought of user efficiency a bit. People want to expend as little cognitive capital (attention, perception, action, problem solving and memory) as possible to obtain a reasonable or sufficient value. This is why I believe that people are going to demand products and services that create cognitive efficiencies. As applications and services are built today few take into consideration the level of efficiency the customer desires. The more we focus on cognitive efficiencies, the more valuable our applications and services will become. It really is about what you give not what you get.
Jeffrey Veen’s RSS Feed
Intellectual Bargain Shopping
The opportunity I see (not the only one) in the attention portion of the cognitive economy, resides in the creation of applications that reduce the amount of attention we have to spend doing meaningless or redundant stuff. If you run a business think about how much time a customer has to spend to complete a transaction with your company. Here is an example:
When you open a bank account why doesn’t the bank identify your preferred language on your ATM card. Better yet, the bank could set your default language based on the language you selected in the first 5 transactions. A simple attention efficiency.
The opportunities are endless and range from simple to infinitely complex. In complex and competitive markets attention efficiencies are powerful differentiators. Companies continue to think about the relationships with their customers in very traditional terms. The future is building systems and applications that allow customer to exchange information in return for future attention. Think of attention as currency, it’s always great when we get more for less money.
In roughly 50 lines of text Steve Gillmor roughs out the Attention OS. The article has triggered many thoughts, so I will just lay them out in a series of posts.
The Cognitive economy is based on value created by individuals powered by a cognitive suite of tools, services, repositories and raw computing power (includes the attention os). To create pools of value that are sufficient to sustain an economy, there will have to be:
- Attention consumers that continually respect an individual’s usage policies and permissions.
- Attention providers that share very similar usage policies and permissions.
- A standard way of describing and communicating attention usage policies and permissions
For example, there are many French world cup soccer fans, but they may not have the same usage policies and permissions for their attention data and gestures. Some fans may restrict the use of their attention data to French companies only. Another set of French world cup soccer fans may have their attention data and gestures governed by more restrictive government statute. So the challenge becomes creating a constellation of French world cup soccer fans that allow their attention data and gestures to used in the same way for a similar result. The consumer of attention and gesture data will be required to be very aware of the current disposition of its constellation of attention providers. The attention consumer must also continuously update and reform the constellation based on changes in the change in provider policies and permissions.
More to follow.