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Filtering by Category: "attention"

Individuals from Plaxo, Google and Facebook join Workgroup

Added on by Chris Saad.

We are proud to announce the inclusion of Joseph Smarr (Plaxo), Brad Fitzpatrick (Google) and Benjamin Ling (Facebook) to the DataPortability Workgroup.

Plaxo, Google and Facebook together represent the key players in the competing approaches to Social Networking platforms and Data Portability.

Their joint support of the DataPortability initiative presents a new opportunity for the next generation of software - particularly in the fields of social software, user rights and interoperability.

The DataPortability Workgroup is, among other things, actively working to create the 'DataPortability Reference Design' to document the best practices for integrating existing open standards and protocols for maximum interoperability.

This means users will be able to access their friends and media across all the applications, social networking sites and widgets that implement the design into their systems.

We look forward to their contribution to the conversation.

More about the DataPortability initiative:

Our Philosophy: As users, our identity, photos, videos and other forms of personal data should be discoverable by, and shared between our chosen tools or vendors. We need a DHCP for Identity. A distributed File System for data. The technologies already exist, we simply need a complete reference design to put the pieces together.

Our Mission: To put all existing technologies and initiatives in context to create a reference design for end-to-end Data Portability. And, to promote that design to the developer, vendor and end-user community.

Besides these new additions, the WorkGroup includes, among others, Chris Saad (Faraday Media), Stephen Kelly (Peepel), Ben Metcalfe (Consultant to Seesmic and Myspace), Chris Messina (Citizen Agency, Microformats), Daniela Barbosa (Dow Jones), Phil Morle, Ian Forrester (BBC), Kristopher Tate (Zooomr), Paul Keen (NineMSN), Brian Suda, Emily Chang (eHub), Danny Ayers (Talis), Robyn Tippins (Yahoo!), Robert Scoble (PodTech).

For more information:

Please visit the DataPortability site.

Read/Write Web Coverage

Techcrunch Coverage

Basics of Attention Profiling - By CleverClogs

Added on by Chris Saad.
I've said it before, and I will say it again. Marjolein is a wizard. She takes complex and abstract ideas and makes very real examples and walk-throughs out of them.

She has done it yet again with her latest blog post entitled "Basics of Attention Profiling through APML".

As her blurb says:
"If you want to inform yourself of the basic principles of attention profiling or need to explain the concept to others then please read on. Feel free to add your clarifications, your conclusions and your constructive criticism to this deliberately non-geek conversation."

She begins with a great summary of the topics she will cover:

In recent months quite a few bloggers covered the growing adoption of APML, a proposed standard for attention profiling. Those about to give up reading here already, please don't. I personally found most of these posts delving in rather deep. If you want to inform yourself of the basic principles of attention profiling or need to explain the concept to others then please read on.

With today's post I'd like to make an attempt at writing a layman's article answering exactly these three questions:

  1. What is attention profiling and what are the benefits?
  2. What tools and services already support or endorse attention profiling?
  3. Where could you go next?

And answer them she does. With screenshots and all.

Check it out - show it to your Attention challenged friends - spread the love.

The post is already linked in a RWW post by Marshall.

Ross Mayfield is asking for Particls

Added on by Chris Saad.
Ross Mayfield, Co-founder and CEO of SocialText, is asking for:

"There is a new kind of aggregator, for more real time attention, that needs to be build to work across status services. I'm not sure if it will be built into existing news aggregators, if existing status clients will evolve into them, or it will be something new. I just know it is coming. It will leverage status service providers and Lifestreaming you find in services like Dandelife and Jaiku."
He just described Particls.

An always-on flowing river of updates in a neat little sidebar - powered by RSS.

Opening up Attention Silos

Added on by Chris Saad.
Alex Iskold over on Read/Write web writes once again about the Attention Economy. He eloquently describes the state of proprietary Attention silos and the need for open standards and APIs for capturing and remixing Attention Data and profiles.

He rightly points out that APML could be a key driver to bringing about a more open and transparent ecosystem.

The APML Workgroup is still growing and the first round of APML supported apps are now well underway starting with Particls, then with Engagd and with Dandelife, Cluztr and iStalkr (using the Engagd API).

Read his post to learn more.

Google video - where to next?

Added on by Chris Saad.
Jeremiah Owyang (Fellow Media 2.0 Workgroup Member) has a great post about his predictions for the future direction of Google Video.

For me, and from the perspective of an aggregator, it still surprises me that Google does many of the things it does. There are plenty of obvious reasons for any company to buy YouTube, but Google started its life doing things differently. I am not clear why they are letting themselves become so distracted.

Buying YouTube will never be a bad idea. It has awesome potential in almost every way. Traffic, branding, buzz, revenue, partnerships, distribution. You name it. It's hard to say no to that sort of revenue potential.

What it doesn't have, however, is the key ingredient that made google a killer. Open Search. Searching YouTube brings back YouTube results.

Google was an aggregator, their goal was to 'get you off the site as quickly as possible'. Yet they are increasingly building or buying destination sites/applications.

While I agree with Jeremiah's assessment of their strategy - it seems to me counter productive to a long term strategy as a benign aggregator of the worlds information.

If you want to organize the world's information, it is, in my assessment, best to avoid conflicts of interest.

MaaS - Media as a Service

Added on by Chris Saad.
Jeremiah - my friend and fellow Media 2.0 Workgroup member wonders out loud if media is becoming a service much like software.

I think it's an interesting question. I have recently re-downloaded the Joost Beta and started playing with it. A lot has been made about Joost's platform and how it is actually based on an elegant combination of on open standards technology.

It occurred to me that Joost (or something like it) could become for TV what the browser is for the Web.

While they are focusing on content deals with premium content providers right now - they have an opportunity to become the generic user interface for loading, remixing and socializing around streaming video content.

This would seem to me a step closer to Jeremiah's premise of Media as a Service (MaaS). If Cable TV is replaced by Joost, and Joost becomes an open service for the distribution of high-quality video content on scale, then we are indeed creating a series of tools, platforms and services that give us enormous capacity for media creation and distribution on demand.

Other companies like Microsoft, SplashCast and others are working towards similar services with very different implementations.

How can up and coming artists, enterprises and established media players take advantage of this emerging trend?

If media services are on tap, what are the implications for user choice and Attention Scarcity.

The Attention Economy Vs. Flow - Continued

Added on by Chris Saad.
Steve Rubel posts about his information saturation.

He writes:

We are reaching a point where the number of inputs we have as individuals is beginning to exceed what we are capable as humans of managing. The demands for our attention are becoming so great, and the problem so widespread, that it will cause people to crash and curtail these drains. Human attention does not obey Moore's Law.


My attention has reached a limit so I have re-calibrated it to make it more effective. I think this issue is an epidemic. We have too many demands on our attention and the rapid success of Tim's book indicates that people will start to cut back on the information they are gorging. If this happens en masse, will it cause a financial pullback? Possibly if ad revenues sag as a result.

Stowe Boyd writes in response:

No, I think we need to develop new behaviors and new ethics to operate in the
new context.

Most people operate on the assumption that the response to increased flow is to intensify what was working formerly: read more email, read more blogs, write more IMs, and so on. And at the same time motor on with the established notions of what a job is, how to accomplish work and meet deadlines, and so on.

In a time of increased flow, yes, if you want to hold everything else as is -- your definition of success, of social relationships, of what it means to be polite or rude -- Steve is right: you will have to cut back.

Who is right? Who is wrong? Maybe Steve is just old and Stowe is divining the new social consciousness.

Maybe Stowe is just being an extreme purist (Stowe? Never!) and just needs to recognize that there is middle ground.

Maybe the middle ground - Flow based tools that help to refine the stream.

Our eye scan handle the sun - but sunglasses are nice too.

CBS getting attention for Jericho using AdWords

Added on by Chris Saad.
CBS is using AdWords to great effect to thank the fans for their show of support for the recently cancelled (and then saved) TV show Jericho.

Learn more about it on TVSquad.

I think it's a great attempt to reach out to fans and use the back channel to generate good will and publicity.

Well done CBS!

Continuous Partial Attention Revisited

Added on by Chris Saad.
Stowe has recently written about his ideas of 'Flow' and Continuous Partial Attention (CPA).

His premise is that we are not necessarily information saturated - that our brains are evolving to a point where we can let the information flow over us and stay continuously partially attentive to many things at the same time. He claaims that this is a perfectly natural change in our concentration and mental abilities.

He writes about Linda Stone - the guru in CPA.

"Linda and many others will tell us it will rot our teeth, disrupt family life, and lead to hair on our palms. I for one am not eager to turn off my devices and pay all my attention to one thing at a time, one moment at a time. There are too many targets on the horizon, too many members of the tribe, and too many jaguars lurking in the shadows for that. In my tribe, we don't do things that way."
I'm young - my brain can handle it for now - so I agree with Stowe (to a point) - however he also writes about Linda Stone's concerns about Continuous, Continuous partial attention having deleterious affects on the body and lumps us Attention people into it.

"[Linda's CPA concerns], along with Toffler's Information Overload (it's driving us crazy, he asserted) and the Attention Economy mavens (free information leads to attention scarcity). I don't buy any of it."
I disagree with Stowe on this point. We "Attention Economy mavens" and our focus on Attention are not antithetical to his ideas about information flow.

Actually I think, particularly we here at Faraday Media and Particls, we are exactly in tune with his message.

Information (particularly news) should typically flow - not pool.

Reading news in a folder/item email style metaphor is not as effective for the mainstream as having it flow by.

Note that I say the mainstream. Many of us early adopter control freaks like to read every item and have plenty of time to bury our heads in news readers. But that is not always the case - not all the time. An information flow (river of news, news ticker, popup alerts) is typically more effective.

Our work in the field of Attention is not about fighting off flow, it is about regulating the flow so that the stream is full of good content.

Web Analytics Demystified - Getting there at least

Added on by Chris Saad.
Jermiah, Web strategy guru at PodTech and fellow Media 2.0 Workgroup memeber has a great video interview with Eric Peterson posted on his blog.

They discuss Engagement, Attention an Analytics. Great chat - well worth a watch.

I have previously proposed some new concepts for syndicating Attention analytics information called Audient and Attent Streams which will go a long way in helping us move beyond pageviews and server logs.

I also appreciate Eric's approach of multiple factors for measuring Engagement. Very much like our Personal Relevancy engine, we don't think that any single factor or method is enough for determining the importance of an item to a user - so rather we create a complex algorithm that takes many things into account proportionally.

Check out the interview on Jeremiah's Blog and check out Eric Peterson's consulting company Web Analytics Demystified.

iPALS - Identity, Presence, Attention, Location, Status

Added on by Chris Saad.
Sam Sethi posts a fantastic post about Twitter, Attention and Information Overload.

He refers to Twitter as a great conversation tool to help reduce the friction and increase the pace of innovation by bringing participants closer together.

Some, however, have given Twitter credit for killing the aggregator and becoming the ultimate tool for incoming alerts and information.

Both Sam and I disagree.

He writes:

I think we are getting closer to the point in time where our social networks, search & discovery engines and the semantic web combine to provide us with said relevant timely information based on our current location, attention and status.

Sadly Twitter is not the answer, it is just another example of us trying to acquire better information faster from our trusted social network. In fact Twitter is just another disorganised stream of information for us to manage.

While Twitter helps to lower the barrier to getting a message out fast, it does not help you route incoming messages particularly effectively.

Think of Twitter as the outgoing pipeline. What's needed is an incoming pipleine. One into which we can put our Twitter stream, our friend's lifestreams, our favorite authors and the applications we track and through which we can route messages based on a number of criteria.

Sam describes these criteria as iPALS:

In the future to help us manage this vast array of data that has overloaded us with information, I envisage us trusting online services where we share our identity, presence, attention, location and status - i.e iPALS in exchange for timely relevant information

Well I’m Sam Sethi (identity) sat at my desk using my PC (Presence), whilst listening to Paul Weller, (Attention) writing this post, at home in sunny Cookham Dean (Location), but I’m busy so don’t disturb me (status). i.e iPALS

I love it. The pieces are emerging. It is now time to stitch them all together.

  • Identity = OpenID + hCard
  • Presence = Does anyone know a definitive Presence service?
  • Attention = Jaiku (An aggregation of all your Attention data from Twitter and beyond)
  • Location = Plazes
  • Status = Anyone know a definitive status service?

So if we combine these services, we have what Sam calls an iPALS application. I call it Attention Management. Whatever it's called - it's the personalized incoming pipeline of your life.

We also like to call it Particls.

Web 3.0 - Attention Management

Added on by Chris Saad.
I've written a few times about Web 3.0 before. I have been pretty dismissive to say the least. The definitions keep shifting and none of them particularly convince me that the paradigm change is sufficient enough to justify a version number change.

In recognition of that confusion, there has been a fun competition run by Read/Write Web for a one line description. As part of the converage, James Brown claims that Web 3.0 is actually about better metadata and smart agent-side filtering.

As an example - he cites Particls:

"But perhaps the next step is for it to analyse attention data, like which articles I delete and which I click through; then apply some clever filters appropriately. It looks like Google is on the way to doing this.

And then there's tools like Particls. Formerly called Touchstone, this is a "personalised news and alert service" which monitors the internet, your feeds and other information like your calendar and emails, learns which are important to you, and alerts you in different ways according to their importance."

I do think that intelligent filtering on the agent-side is important (what a surprise hey!) but I am not sure it's called web 3.0. It's called Personalized Aggregation, or Personal Relevancy or Attention Management - and it can fit neatly into the current web.

And next... it needs to move into Media 2.0

Phil Morle says "We need time to think"

Added on by Chris Saad.
Phil Morle has just posted about the information overload and media 2.0 scale issues I have been covering lately and he makes an excellent point:
"We are becoming good filters, but poor philosophers. We are good at information retrieval and storage and not so good at the long-thought. We need machines to become better at filtering media 2.0 - show us the important stuff, let us get into the background stuff if we have the time and let us trust that we aren't missing anything. We need time to think." [Emphasis added]
To put it another way, I wonder if we have more information... but less understanding.

Just like 24 hour news networks (who suffer from too much chatter and not enough context), we spend so much time trying to keep up with, comment about and clip/snip/remix everything we may have forgotten how to keep perspective.

Watching Robert Scoble's presentation about "Living in a Google World" it struck me that he has learned a lot about filtering information for himself. He admits he does a lot of his filtering based on how a post or headline might catch his eye, and also by a learned sense of authority about the author of a post.

It's great that people like us have time to process all this information and think deeply about information consumption and trends.

But I think most people don't have time.

Knowledge workers have traditionally had the benefit of analyst reports and high-quality premium data to give them insight into emerging trends.

Now, however, there is a need for them to join the real-time conversation and filter information for themselves. How will this affect their ability to synthesize new ideas and keep their eye on long-term opportunities?

I fear most people will end up in a reactive echo-chamber world with very little original thought because they are too busy just trying to keep up. Or maybe that's nothing new?

I'd like to think there is a better way...

Does Media 2.0 Scale? When do we reach Saturation?

Added on by Chris Saad.
I have had this question in the back of my mind for a month now.

"Does Media 2.0 Scale"

If one of the tenets of being in 'Social Media' is for everyone to be... well... social - at one point does your ability to socialize reach saturation point?

To me, Robert Scoble is the best example of this emerging problem.

It seems to me that he is the ultimate Social Media 'celebrity'. He takes his social responsibility seriously. He lists his cell phone and email address on his website and responds to most of his email. He blogs like crazy and comments on blogs that mention him. He talks on panels and joins all sorts of crazy workgroups.

And now... he is adding every single one of his followers on Twitter as a friend!

This is at once both admirable and crazy. How can he possible keep up?

Surely he has (or soon will) reach the limits of his social scale.

I'd like to ask Robert, as one of Media 2.0's leading social celebrities, to write a post about how he deals with all these people coming at him asking for attention - how does he Pay Attention to everyone.

Consider also that if Robert is the new model of celebrity - where the host of your favourite TV show needs to be accessible and social - how does this kind of activity scale to mainstream levels.

Fill us in Robert!

What does everyone else think? Perhaps this is a follow on from the 'My Media Consumption Diet' meme. How do you decide what to ignore and how do you try to scale up your social interactions. How is it possible for more visible people to do the same. How can all of this 'level up' when social becomes mainstream?

Maybe scale is not a desirable effect though? If we scale our interactions up - do we not necessarily have to scale the depth of those interactions down?

Major media outlets are starting to understand the zero sum game of Attention

Added on by Chris Saad.
Scott Karp has written a great piece summarizing what we here at Touchstone has been alluding to for quite some time.

Individuals can now make a good living as content creators, without ever creating or becoming part of a scale content business. What’s more disruptive, however, is that in the market for original content, the attention economy is draining dollars out of the cash economy. There remains a zero sum game for consumer attention, so for every minute a consumer spends with content created by an entity whose compensation is in form of attention, there’s a minute not being spend on content created by a for-profit entity.

In contrast, the content aggregation and distribution side of the divided media industry has all the advantages of scale, with the technology-enabled platform (e.g. MySpace, Facebook, YouTube, search) serving as the organizing principle for the new scalable media businesses. Content creation is asymptotically approaching commodity status, while platforms that can effectively aggregate content and allocate scarce consumer attention can unlock immense value in the new media marketplace.


This does not mean, however, that commercial content creators will lose out while Aggregators destroy their businesses. It means that content creators need to understand and respect and value the role of aggregators to help them find an audience. Further, they need to understand how Personalized Aggregation (based on Attention) changes the publisher/audience dynamic.

First, as we all know, there is no more audience, only participants. But more importantly for this discussion - the participants have different expectations. They want highly tailored content experiences that meet their tastes exactly. And they have no shortage of places to find that conent - in fact too many sources. We sometimes call this hyper choice or information overload.

This means that publishers need to:
  1. Start thinking niche.
  2. Start finding ways to cut through the noise to reach niche audiences.
This is where Attention comes in. By measuring one's Attention you can learn what they are interested in. By learning what they are interested in you can learn what content they want to see more of. From there, it's a hop, skip and a jump to connecting content creators with participants.

It also means that Aggregators will have a growing responsibility to content creators. A responsibility to report statistics, create transparency in their platforms and find some way to help the eco-system of Content Creators become successful.

Read Scott's full post for some more great insights.

How to get linked from the A-list

Added on by Chris Saad.
Robert Scoble is a genius. I will say this over and over. If there's one thing he knows how to do is to create a brand of his name as the A-list blogger of the people. His trademark 'Who are you' opening question, his disarming laugh, his simple 'everyman' questions (most of which he knows the answer to I'm sure) and his ability to stem the flow of negativity with brilliant stunts all contribute to his power.

But this post is not just to suck up to Robert - I'd like to ask a question.

His latest post (and stunt) is a thread where he asks the question "Do A-lister bloggers have a responsibility to link to others". In it, he asks that question and then opens the comments for everyone to spam a link to their own stuff.

One of the commenter’s, though, raises a very interesting point.

Krishna Kumar Writes:

The PageRank algorithm is probably one of the key factors in this whole argument about link sharing. While the initial search engines used the “content” of your web site or page, nowadays (because of content spammers) authority (determined by incoming links) matters more.

The problem is that if a newbie or Z-lister has something really important to say or has some great idea, he or she will not get the necessary audience to propagate that idea.

I am not sure how this can be resolved because the commercialization of the Internet along with SEO businesses have changed the rules of the game that unfortunately now negatively affects new ideas.

And yes, a tech-savvy person can get his or her idea spread, but what if the person (non-profit, medical field, etc.) has no clue about Google juice and stuff like that.

I know that back in my Z-list days (I am now on the Y list for those keeping track) it was/is hard to get a post you think is fantastic noticed by hardly anyone. But is that because the A-list is so hard to break into or because the tools for mining the long-tail are so poor?

Does Google Juice matter? Does being on the A-list matter? Whose A-list are we talking about?

I've said it before and I will say it again. Personal Relevance is more important than Popularity.

People who care about what I'm saying should find it - irrespective of how many incoming links I have.

Why? Maybe because I am not as popular as Robert but I still want to be heard. Don't we all? But more importantly because a local school does not need (or want) Robert's audience. They want an audience of locals. And locals should be able to discover that content without knowing what RSS is.