ThoughtStorms Wiki

HeatherJames talks about GoogleJuice, the passing on of attention, here :

And as she links to ThoughtStorms, I'd better return the favour and create a page about her story :-)

All a bit incestuous isn't it.

But then the origin of the word BlogRoll was the derogatory : logrolling.

And the point is, this is TheAttentionEconomy. And it's NetoCracy. Which means we have to do our Imploitation as well as our Exploitation. Passing the GoogleJuice on the left-hand side is definitely another part of that. Is it "imploitation"? At a stretch is feels similar. But maybe it's yet a third kind of thing. Need to think about this more.

But what I'm wondering now is "what's new"? In the old money economy, passing money around was the definition of or the creation of economic activity. It's what let us "measure" economic activity. In fact the indexes of economic growth can be increased simply by pulling gifts, favours, friendship services from the non-accounted realm into the payed realm.

Are we doing the same with attention? For example, I'm trying to encourage my friends to have the discussions we used to have in private, in TheSanctuaryCafe or by email, in public on this wiki. And, in a sense, I'm doing that because I'm trying to cash-in on them. I'm imploiting them to win greater attention from a wider public audience. Erm ... you didn't read that last bit.

A lot of the AltMoney stuff I'm reading says, conversely, that a justification for LocalCurrencies is that creating more money locally enables you to do more. Payment gets things done. And once you've turned your baby-sitting favour into 3 TimeDollars, you can spend it on convincing the lazy sod next door to mow your lawn because he can spend those HOURS on chocolate cake.

So money creates activity which creates wealth. And more of the tokens can stimulate it. In the same way, maybe as Google and SocialNetworkingSoftware teaches us how to notice and value the currencies of attention and links, the GoogleJuice, we'll start to apply it more, to put it to better use, going out of our way to earn it by writing more, and thinking more and offering other favours to our net-friends. In other words, an attention economy can stimulate people to do stuff the same as the money economy. (It's one of the TypesOfPower)

But at the same time. As with ordinary money, this can corrupt and corrode the relationships. Favours which were loosely accounted become more stringently accounted. People used to rewards stop doing favours when they don't receive. Real economies go into recession when people start hording the units of currency and won't spend. The same can happen in the attention economy. If Heather doesn't link to me for the next year, maybe I'll stop linking to her. Maybe Oli thinks he's not getting enough value for his consultancy by posting his political thoughts here.

The great excitement of social software and the internet is that it :

  • a) lets us see social, political and economic events that used to happen imperceptably slowly, happen in weeks or months before our eyes. And so we understand better; and we think we can learn to control or guide better. I can float prototype communites on TribeNet and see who salutes. I can find what excites and what doesn't. (See also StupidTribeHacks)
  • b) It's possible that the social economy really can grow and upset the existing economic order. It may even provide a window of opportunity within which we can create a better and fairer order.

But at the same time, we'll pay a price. We'll have to give up more of our unconscious, unplanned and loosely accounted selves. We'll put friendship and companionship and the excitement of meeting new people into the service of this new economy. We'll have less innocent psychic space. We'll choose to be more public because this will be tantamount to work.

Comments Elsewhere

Now there's a controversy over those who accept money to post links for SEO :

See also :

  • More worries about the commercial invading non-commercial life OffShoring/TheNextBigThing