21 November 2006

Wealth and Power in the Attention Economy

In the attention economy, there are three classes: those who depend on others for the structuring of their attention, those who are independent, and those who structure the attention of others.

Wealth and power in this attention economy suggests control over the attention of others. You may run the company in which thousands work, able to direct the attention of the company towards a particular market or emphasis. You may control the media that directs the attention of viewers, listeners, or readers. You may write influential books or TV shows that change how people think or write sofware programs that define how they work.

Poverty in this attention economy suggests dependence on others for the structuring of attention. You may depend on a boss to tell you what tasks to think about and how to think about them. You may depend on TV programming to decide where to focus for the evening or weekend.

Who controls your attention? Whose attention do you control? The answer to those questions suggests a great deal about the resources you have command over. Because until you have control over your own attention, you can’t control much else.

No comments: