Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Competing for attention


Central to the attention economy is the idea that multiple media are competing for our (scarce) attention. Web 2.0 and micromedia are accelerating this trend. Bubblegen suggests : “By networking digital media, the incentives for prosumers to produce a huge plethora of forms of micromedia pop into existence; blogs, podcasts, vlogs, machinima, fan films, and cosplay are just a few examples. The relationship between technology and media relationship has undergone a phase shift: from one to one, to many to one.” Well, yes, I’m OK with this - and the sentence that concludes. But as well as this, I’m interested in juxtaposing these ideas with what it’s actually like to consume/produce in different environments. My attention rests most easily with web-based materials that hold relevance or interest - and they’re not necessarily the visually exciting or densely linked ones. But, my inability to read screen text in a sustained or detailed way continues to surprise me (I’ve posted about this before). So I’m taking an experiential approach – regularly reading (and writing) around the blogosphere, alongside reading Henry James (why James, because I recall that the entry-cost attention was pretty high) and interspersing with Helen Simpson - who has a writing style that’s really immediate. I suppose if everything’s competing for my attention, I want to understand something about the characteristics of that attention.

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