Attention or Eyeballs

Attentiontrust.Org-Badge Trying to come to some understanding of all this recent discussion about attention vs. intention vs. old-school eyeballs. Cluetrain, 1999: “We are not seats or eyeballs or end users or consumers. We are human beings and our reach exceeds your grasp. Deal with it.” Doc Searles’ wife: “Sales is real. Marketing is bullshit.” Nick Bradbury: “Right now we’re witnessing the growth of services who provide aggregated attention data, and statistics suggested by this data will increasingly impact those of us – journalists and techies alike – who hope to survive in the online world.” Mary Hodder, excerpted from notes on her decision to join the board of Attention Trust:

What’s the difference between the static web and the live web? Participation.

What’s the difference between consumers and users/amateurs? Participation.

What’s the difference between attention and eyeballs? Participation.

So as we move from an eyeball-centric to an attention-centric web, and as companies realize the value of harnessing and harvesting individual attention streams, we (users/readers/consumers) stand to benefit. BUT it also becomes critical to retain control over our own databases of intention (attention?), lest they be used against us.

Music: Cardiacs :: The Leader of the Starry Skies

4 Replies to “Attention or Eyeballs”

  1. I checked out that website and I can’t say I entirely understand (or understand just a little bit) what this whole owning my attention thing is all about. How do you use someone’s attention against them?

    [Although really this was just an effort to test out cocomment, so if you reply, that would be awesome.]

  2. Andy – Think of Google (and if you’re still thinking “Do no evil,” you’re thinking of a Google that no longer exists. Think of them owning your email, your entire search history, your wireless connection, your weblog, your calendar (soon coming), your online storage (soon coming), your finance (just announced), etc. Think about what they know about you. The index is aware of your attention stream in a really big way. They can use that attention stream to benefit you, or to market to you in ways you don’t want to be marketed to. What guarantee of privacy do you have? Have you read all of the EULAs and fine print for all of those services?

    OK, Goog may be an exteme example, but now disperse the idea amongst lots of vendors, working together to track your attention stream and do god knows what with it…

  3. So is it predominantly a defensive thing… how not to be exploited? ‘Cause I don’t think of google as “owning” my e-mail. I can dump everything into outlook if I ever wanted to do, but it’s easier/better/whatever for me to use gmail instead.

    And if I sign on and take the attention pledge, I don’t really understand how that would impact me and how I do things. Should I then take direct steps to someone do things differently.

    [and as far as cocomment goes, it seems rather useless to me, as it doesn’t do what I thought it did…]

  4. Andy – Google KEEPS every single message you ever write or receive, EVEN AFTER you delete it. They may not own it in the traditional sense, but you sign over the right to storage. The larger their index grows, the more they stand to benefit, because their search-based services grow wider and more accurate and… more sale-able. Sure you can export your mail, but that doesn’t mean they don’t now have your attention stream in-hand.

    I don’t know enough about Attention Trust to answer the 2nd part of your question, sorry. I think what they’re doing is two-fold: A) Building the Attention Recorder to help people “own” their own attention stream and B) raising awareness among internet users about the personal attention heap they’re building, and its critical importance to marketers, etc.

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