Victus Spiritus


The Democracy of Attention, an Economy of Minds

17 Jun 2009


Protesters in Tehran 5 days after the election

Internet Attention is Democratic

Increasingly effective web directories are powered by millions of people reviewing, voting, and filtering much of the most popular material. There still remain rare gems that are unseen by the mass of reviewers, but even these smaller finds are being discovered by niche communities within greater crowd sourcing sites (sub-reddit, HackerNews, twitter followers, friendfeed groups, etc.) The democratization of the web, applies to the way in which you find and publish information. While a web search (Google, bing) will give you appropriate links to SEO (search engine optimization) centric pages, usually these results are dominated by only a few big names. This information is generally older but may not be what you are searching for. Through crowd sourced (ranked) pages we have at our fingertips user reviewed information, much of which is updated in real time. We can also publish our own creations to these sites and have them judged/reviewed in real time.

The New Economy is Based On Minds

The concept of an economy based on interaction is an extension of the virtual currency of gratitude I alluded to in an earlier post. While attention can be capitalized on by effective advertising, the heart of an internet economy is based on the flow of information between minds. Excellent ideas spur on communal action, more so in an environment of trust. Concepts may start with potential, and develop into something much stronger by social iteration/design (blogging being a simple example). Simple platforms with open APIs allow for easier development of user desired tools (twitter being a prime example, the APP store another). Markets are created from the user community, their interactions requiring additional tools to fulfill business needs. Ultimately dollar values are placed on premium services, or pertinent (hopefully) advertisements.

There are several newer tools which will empower additional social markets. P2 is a social platform that works within wordpress (it's a template). This easily integrated, decentralized micro-blogging/communication tool has allowed the wordpress team to communicate effectively and efficiently. This open source tool has advantages over tools like twitter in that moderation can also be decentralized (as it is in friendfeed). Another promising communication platform that's also open source is Google Wave. Here's a few features of Google Wave that are geared for social collaboration:

A short video displaying a sample of it's function:

Click here for a full video review of Google Wave.

Another great collaboration that's happening now is building43. If you're reading this on my website you can see an interactive window to the building43 room on friendfeed (that's my way of supporting the site). Robert Scoble teamed up Rackspace with contributions from several other well known bloggers (Guy Kawasaki, Robert La Gesse) and video interviews of entrepreneurs (Mark Zuckerberg) and venture capitalists (Fred Wilson). The mission statement of building43 is to make it easier for businesses to use the internet to improve business results. Robert Scoble would like nothing better than to help the majority of businesses take advantage of web 2010 technology.

In the expanding economy of the net, users benefit from simple connections between isolated social networks. Open APIs and single authentication will simplify and make transparent the differences between social networks. Simpler setup for blog/websites will allow for acceptance by these platforms to a wider audience.

raw recording: [podcast][/podcast]