Archive for the ‘attention’ Category

Mashup of Life

February 16, 2007

there seems to be three bits of me at any one time

THE PAST – memories float and bob about, happy things once done, friends met and conversations spoken. Food for the mental mill to grind. Sometimes I can’t leave the past behind.

THE FUTURE – what’s to be done? I’m always thinking ahead, planning too much, It can breed an anxiety syndrome, and there’s nothing worse than a “Getting Things Done” too much philosophy. Aiming big, big personal goals.

the present – the ever daunting now. Shake off boredom, look for titillating stuff, The monkey mind with his too curious fingers. Slap it down, get things settled.

The tripartite existence … when did it dawn on you? There must be some point as a child (3, 5 years old?) when the functions of memory and a future time become lodged in inexorably as mental modules.

Always switching from one tense to another. So tense.

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Is It Ethical to Ad Block?

January 8, 2007

If you’re using Firefox as a browser, you can setup an ad blocker in under five minutes. The tool of choice is Adblock Plus; it’s free, effective, and time tested. You’ll be amazed at how much easier it is to concentrate on pages when you don’t have silly images flashing at the top of your screen and bright red links popping up everywhere.

But is it ethical?

I see a couple of issues here –

1. the advertiser only gets charged when you click on an ad. If you don’t see it, it’s not an issue. This is different from traditional media where the advertiser pays up front.

2. the page owner (or blogger) might rely quite heavily on ads to support their income. If you don’t play the game, they might not either.

Ultimately, the web is a form of media like all those before it, and media almost always evolves to an advertising supported model. It’s being able to get someone’s attention, and then giving it away to a third party (to sell something).

I guess if you’re running ads to support yourself, you shouldn’t be using an ad blocker.

The New Currency: Attention

January 3, 2007

The web world revolves around attention. Around the globe, there are hundreds and hundreds of millions of human beings staring into screens. They surf sites, do email, wander from page to page, all in this glorious playground called the internet.

With the advent of web2.0, the observers have become participants. Your photos, music edits, carefully written stories, all can be dumped into the web in a flash. As Time put it – “you are the web”.

So, what’s your point?

In this article written in 1997, “The Attention Economy and the Net“, Michael Goldhaber describes unerringly the web of today. Don’t forget, ten years ago was before google, before broadband, before youtube! it was even before slashdot, so the extrapolations are based on a deep understanding of links and transience.

What is the Attention Economy?

Quite simply, everyone can put up a web page, so everyone is competing for attention. In this new online media, earning an income is driven by ads. If someone has a “better page” more people will go there, see more of his ads, and he will be more successful, ie better able to earn an income.

So we have to compete for attention. We get it any way possible – by getting a high ranking in search engines, buying links, whatever. But gaming the system only gets people to visit your site once. You need them to come back, and that is purely voluntary. You need to create a hook, great content, a warm environment.

The Whirligig of Attention

So all these people, all round the planet, jumping around, finding what works for them, telling their friends, making their own links. What is value for people co-agulates attention, and ultimately what rises to the top is the result of a process almost akin to random sampling.

So when you get to a page you like, pay attention!