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Attention engines, Engines for the Attention Economy?

September 24, 2009

attentionFor a change, let’ have a conversation about the future… no facts, no data.

I just read the excellent article (IEEE computer Nov 08) from Bernardo Huberman (HP) on the attention economy.
Here’s the Wikipedia entry along with an excerpt.  It’s eyes opening:  Attention Economy

“…in an information-rich world, the wealth of information means a dearth of something else: a scarcity of whatever it is that information consumes. What information consumes is rather obvious: it consumes the attention of its recipients. Hence a wealth of information creates a poverty of attention and a need to allocate that attention efficiently among the overabundance of information sources that might consume it” (Simon 1971, p. 40-41).

The social web is making the issue worst and quickly moves the challenge from information to attention.

We are indeed moving from the “Information Age” to the “Attention Age”:

Information Age Attention Age
People write to … be viewed, heard be noticed, differentiated
People write for.. the impersonal WWW, everyone their friends, their tribes, their communities
Side effect Over information
No attention
The right information
Huge attention
Pivotal tools Search Engine & SEO’s Social Networks & Attention Engines

If the “Search engine” with the eco-system that comes with it  is/was THE critical element in the Information age, it’s less the appropriate response to the “Attention Age”.

Real time search is the immediate challenge  but is still a marginal threat.  Attention on Twitter is barely better than on Google and spams, bots and old school marketers are already making their way into it.

So how would we define “Attention Engine”? :

Search Engine Attention Engine
Passive Active
Top Down Bottom up
Quantitative Qualitative
Keyword based People & Context based
Producing Information Producing Attention

For those who follow this blog regularly, you probably see a huge overlap with the right column and what eCairn is all about.

We’re the first Attention Engine out there.

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