25 August 2009

A short manifesto on the future of attention

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Attention
Author and journalist Michael Erard has published a short manifesto on the future of attention:

“Now we have a wide-ranging discussion about what is and what can’t be free, which is basically about the future of profit. Maybe we should be considering a dilemma of a human nature: the future of attention.

Because there’s a connection between the two.

Making something “free” is obviously an allocation strategy. “Free” attracts attention. Making things brief is an allocation strategy as well. The problem is that free isn’t sustainable, and that brief is underpriced.

We need a Ronald Reagan of attention, someone to inspire us away from the fight over smaller and smaller pieces of the attention pie. Someone who will inspire us to make the attention pie bigger.”

It’s a provocative piece, especially in its final sentence: “So this is what it’s come to: when an attention gift economy seems more practical and sustainable than an exchange economy for information commodities, which is being rotted by the gift’s ugly negation: the free.”

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