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June 09, 2006



You're a " must read" for me John. You are always looking at the big picture and the interconnections at the same time and that's rare.


I'd say you're doing about right.

The Attention Economy is basically one aspect of what I'd call netocracy : an economy of links or connections where links are considered a kind of wealth in their own right.

However links, unlike dollars, come in various types, strengths and qualities.

Sometimes a few good quality attentional links are more valuable than a lot of weak or poor quality links. If your online identity provides the kind of links that bring valuable work offers and useful information or discussion, then you're better off with them than trying to appeal to a broader, less committed mass-audience.

As "being famous" is a fairly zero-sum game (after all Goldhaber chooses attention precisely because it *is* scarce) most people will play the netocracy game by trying to strategically position themselves as well as they can, with a few highish quality or very strong links that are particularly appropriate to their skills and temperament.

In fact, one of the things we can see at the moment is that in an age of "reality" TV shows and minor celebrities, "being famous" ie. well known by large but low-value audience, is both easier than ever and ever more meaningless. The real beneficiaries of this long tail of minor celebrity nobodies are the main-stream media who are increasingly *aggregating* them.

The heart of netocratic theory is to distinguish two economic activities :

* "exploitation" which means trying to monetize your links (eg. by selling advertising, or selling access to your friends or selling some valuable information you got via one of your links for money,


* "imploitation" which essentially means investing link-capital to make more link-capital eg. publishing good, valuable, information for free in order to win more high quality attention (more regular discerning readers); or conversely, polling a group of quality readers in order to get more quality information.

Of the two, imploitation is likely to be increasingly important.

John Robb

Thanks Zen, you are too.

Josh Koenig

I've always liked the David Weinberger formulation: "Everyone is faimous for fifteen people."

In the end, the power-scale type of a-list blog celebrity is fleeting and not really all that important in the long run. An individual/site can serve as an inflection point and really be crucial, but multimedia is going to increasingly take this role (larger potential audiences/more persuasive medium) and the long-haul value of blogging is ultimately elsewhere: creating a rich network of loose ties, engaging in productive discourse, and helping good/interesting things emerge from this enhanced plaform of social capital.

phil jones

"Everyone will be famous for fifteen people"

Momus : http://www.imomus.com/index499.html

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