Monthly Archives: December 2005

Getting back up to speed

After a week away (a trip to Nova Scotia) I find several things awaiting the effort to wrap-mind-around, amidst the familiar feeling that it’s all moving a bit faster than I am, or can:

The impact of AJAX on web operations from bitcurrent

Structured Blogging (viz. D’Arcy Norman)

Alexa Web Crawl (viz. John Batelle‘s announcement and Read/Write Web entry)

Jon Udell on automated conversion of stream-to-mp3

Technorati Kitchen’s Explore

Kevin Kelly’s The Technium

…not to mention bits that continue and extend stuff I was already working on, like ambiientfindability in delicious, a very nice extension of the book itself (which I’ve been reading in gulps, via O’Reilly Safari)

…and Google Maps Creation Tools/Tutorials and News and blog-post roundup from Google Maps Mania

‘Gesture Economy’

In a bombshell post Steve Gillmor instantiates the term ‘gesture economy’ (which Google tells me has another meaning in linguistics) as one of the puzzle pieces in the emerging dialog on Attention. It’ll be interesting to track the uses of the term, and the closely related ‘GestureBank’ which titles Steve’s post. What brought me up short, though, was this bit of clarity, to which I’ve added emphasis here and there:

Of course, nothing is for free, really. Gmail is free, but at the cost of your metadata. Search is free, but at the cost of a tactical answer, not a strategic one. Which result you choose is the payment, setting off an event chain that sometimes results in action and monetization. The metadata–which item you choose, the fork in the road you take–is captured but not shared. The result: an opportunity cost lost to the Google or Yahoo or MSN silo. The cost: time not saved.

Follow the breadcrumbs for a minute. If a gesture is not shared, what is lost? The network effect, for one. GestureRank for another. What? GestureRank–the price the market will bear for harvesting the authority of a particular gesture. Remember: this is a post-attention world we’re living in. Just as the RSS wave triggered an embarassment of riches and triage cost, the Attention wave triggers an authority architecture and corollary characteristics. If PageRank crystallizes link authority, GestureRank crystallizes gestures of intent and, crucially, the lack of intent.

Attention to something is valuable, but in a world of too much information divided by the time to consume a portion of it, signalling a lack of attention is more valuable. By that construct, gestures of inattention will fetch a greater price, and purveyors of gestures of indirection or redirection will gain inordinate value as compared to domain experts…

Plenty in there to chew upon. And then he drops this beauty of an example:

Gestures become inextricably interwoven with so-called content, creating a fabric of intelligence, emotion, and humor that is difficult if not impossible for audiences to resist… Shared laughter efficiently reveals the power of gestures. All around us we hear and generate the sounds of humor–the chuckle of recognition, the cackle of just deserts, the snort of derision mixed with self-knowledge, the humanity of it all. It’s jazz, isn’t it; the improvization we all want to sit in on.

Paying Attention

I listened to a 3-part Steve Gillmor AttentionTech podcast (with Dave Winer phoning in) and probably moved things along a bit further in the getting it dimension for OPML, but I’m somewhat bothered by the flatfilishness of the examples of attention I keep hearing –they seem to be stuck in ‘what blogs do you read how much’ territory, which makes for a pretty shallow and limited conception of attention, and the model seems to be *to sell attention data.

Attention is much more multifaceted, being both multidimensional and volatile too: from week to week and over months my attention is assigned to many different realms, often interconnected but sometimes quite disjunctive as I pick up and put down various threads, now more focused, now attending to more things more shallowly, now following a specific trail of interconnections. I want to be able to visualize and analyze that flux, and to be able to revisit any of the states of the past with a click. I want the kind of map that Dave Pollard implies (“your brain’s memory laid out as a wiki tableau”). I want that for myself, and I’d want to be able to export it to somebody else (perhaps in pruned/edited form). But most of all I want that as a long-haul tool for understanding my own progress in the digital realm.