shaking your moneymaker in the Attention Economy

from – reproduced with author’s permission

I receive a weekly summary of goings on around the web digested by Rojo. Like feted Web 2.0 wundersites such as Digg, Rojo allows users to collect, rate, and share items of interest that are weighted based on how many others thought the item worth noting. In short, these sites use the same principals as your average high school cheerleader; popularity is an end in itself because it equates to the item’s being worth reading, following, commenting on, etc. Ultimately then, such sites rely on the principal that

popularity = relevance

 Of course we know this is not true, right? What is popular is not necessarily relevant … right? Then again, our equation could be true if the group whose opinions we are measuring consists of like-minded professionals looking for the same thing … in which case what is ‘popular’ is most likely what everyone has been looking for. Imagine my surprise then when I noticed this piece from Silicon Valley Watcher in my weekly wrap-up. The post is about a couple of up and coming startups that claim to give website visitors more of what they came for by monitoring their behavior on the site; making suggestions; weighing visitor responses to those suggestions; and so on. This all comes on the heels of 2 interesting recent developments that I’m beginning to realize just may be related 

  1. A new crop of sites like has developed that take full advantage of the tools and concepts people have come to identify as ‘Web 2.0’. These sites fairly defy definition; whatever they amount to, they are not ‘web 2.0’ in a media-friendly sense, and they often thrive on user self-exposure (dare I say over-exposure) for its own sake. 
  2. The emergence of such sites, as well as a number of other developments, seem to confirm what many opinion leaders have been saying for months – that the loose affiliation of concepts known by the buzz-term ‘Web 2.0’ are giving way to the more meaningful concept of the attention economy.

In the end, I agree we are moving into, and may be in the midst of, a situation in which overwhelmed information workers like lawyers require computers and other intermediary systems to navigate the oceans of data being flung their way. My solution? Who am I to fight the future, right? Put simply, from now on I’m going to charge for my attention as well as my time. It is no longer a question of what I can do for my clients … now I have to ask what representing a given client will do for me; whether it will better prepare me to meet the challenges around the corner or leave me back where I started (more or less). Shall we start the bidding?

One response to “shaking your moneymaker in the Attention Economy

  1. Pingback: privacy and data rights - a comparison « practice management blog

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