Sep 262006

Here is one more installment of this overly lengthy draft chapter.

see the pdf for this third installment.

The first installment (click for pdf)

The second installment (click for pdf)

Again, comments and questions welcome.

  2 Responses to “Third Installment of Chapter 3– "What is Attention?"”

  1. I liked this chapter much better. As a technical note, and echoing your own assesment of “overlong” — this too will improve with later editting. The second half really contains the meat and, in general, I think it might (later, not important now) make sense to move around all of the psychological bases and dynamics into one place (previous chapter) and *then* talk about how it intersects with a money economy — which is kind of what you’ve done but needs some clean-up.

    It’s sort of interesting that, as you describe it, attention seeking is an expression of needs and expression giving increasingly a mechanism for connecting the attended to means — all dancing around the central question of what it implies for and what motivates attendees to give attention. I appreciate that you put, for example, the slavery of enthrallment on the same page as attending a charity event, pointing out the complex moral and pragmatic challenges that we confront as attendents.

    I also appreciate your calling attention to this in the context of the 60s onward. Wasn’t it 68 when there was the first global live-by-sattelite tv transmission? And in general, as communication networks get built out, attention is increasingly, for want of a better word, fungible.

    I look forward to the next installment and hope you won’t mind if I return to some more serious criticisms as the work progresses.

    I hope that one topic you won’t fail to take up is the tension between community and commoditized attention. Indeed, my experience with “the kids these days” suggests that commoditized attention has, already, become very much a substitute for genuine community. Phenomena like “meet-ups” and the “blogosphere”, entertainment-genre self-identification, social networking with built-in popularity metrics, etc…. young people especially are very busy reconstructing their self-identities around these things with more communitarian interactions becoming increasingly furtive, clumsy, and amateurish.

    “In fifteen minutes, everyone will be famous,” — A. Warhol

  2. Michael – I discovered your blog through John Hagel and skimmed your chapter this morning. I wrote up my initial thoughts here:

    I was skeptical about economic attention as alignment of minds but when I thought through some examples it made a lot of sense.

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