Attention & G.Y.M.

Steve Gillmor:

“if people want to take ownership of their metadata, that will be a good thing for anybody who migrates along with users to a new paradigm”
Time is on our side | Steve Gillmor’s InfoRouter

One of my early hesitations about attention in the internets was this very thought, that Steve assigns to Dare; what possible motivation could Google, Yahoo, or Microsoft (or many others we could name) have to give up the metadata they collect?

“Dare has been critical of attention in the past primarily because he doesn’t see why vendors would be interested or willing to give up their metadata.”

In fact that was one of the reasons it took me so long to sign on to the AttentionTrust approved list at all, the idea that we’d never get the big boys to give up what I suspect they feel is their rightful payment in return for free services. Steve attempts to couch it in terms of “they’ll do what’s in their own best interest, and that means they’ll follow along in the new hegemony of attention,” and he may be right – I’m not much of a crystal ball-reader.

What finally got me over the hump was this: who cares? Who cares if the big boys don’t give up that data? That means that they won’t be AttentionTrust approved (they’d fail at least Mobility and Transparency), but I doubt that they care. But when it comes right down to it, I’m not sure I care all that much either. As long as I’m gathering my attention data then I’m doing all that I can to maintain my rights. If I want to monetize it when the structures are there to do so then I’ll be able to, because I’ll have it (though personally I think this is the least interesting aspect of attention, but that’s just me). If I just want to analyze it or use it to make my reading and online life more effective and efficient then I’ll have it. If the fact that I can’t move my attention from within Google’s walls or see what they’re doing with it becomes important to me then I’ll stop using Google. Someone else will come along who can do for me what Google does and gets the proper role of attention, and they’ll eat Google’s lunch, if not sooner, then later, but they will come.

Download the AttentionRecorder extension. Start collecting your own data. If you don’t want to share it with Root Vaults then save it yourself – you can always share it later, because there will be other services to help you with this.

And sign up to be an AttentionTrust member.

LATER: Joshua Porter (Bokardo) seems to agree that what matters is collecting your own attention gestures. My takeaway:

Here is how I see Attention working in a very similar way to how I bought a car.

  1. Decide what you want out of life (not just a car)
  2. Somehow record your attention-data objectively. This is approximately the same as creating a letter with your intention to buy
  3. Sign up for services (perhaps /ROOT) that allow you to talk with interesting parties (there will be some smart companies who realize that this data is much richer than what they’re getting). This is akin to sending your fax around.
  4. Make sure to let them know you’re serious, and don’t throw your attention data everywhere. Let them know that you’ll make your decision based on how well they treat you, not just how much money or prizes they’ll initially give you. Demand respect.
  5. Wait for the replies. Choose the best one, and make it be or lead to something you want out of life.

Still largely based around the economy of attention, but there’s more there as well.