Streams of Content, Limited Attention | UX Magazine

  • feb 2010
  • Mark
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Voor iedereen

En weer een briljante post van danah boyd. Voor wie niet het hele artikel wil lezen hier de highlights (en dat is nog steeds een hele lap!)


"As networked technologies proliferate around the world, we can assume that there is a channel of distribution available to everyone and between everyone. In theory, anyone could get content to anyone else. With the barriers to distribution collapsing, what matters is not the act of distribution, but the act of consumption. Thus, the power is no longer in the hands of those who control the channels of distribution, but those who control the limited resource of attention.
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People throughout the network are using the attention they receive to traffic in pointers to other content, serving as content mediators. Numerous people have become experts as information networkers.
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Four Core Issues

1) Democratization. Switching from a model of distribution to a model of attention is disruptive, but it is not inherently democratizing. [...]  People will pay attention to content that is in their language, even if they can get access to content in any language. This means Chinese language content will soon get more attention than English content, let alone Dutch or Hebrew content.

2) Stimulation. People consume content that stimulates their mind and senses. That which angers, excites, energizes, entertains, or otherwise creates an emotional response. This is not always the "best" or most informative content, but that which triggers a reaction. [...]  If we're not careful, we're going to develop the psychological equivalent of obesity. We'll find ourselves consuming content that is least beneficial for ourselves or society as a whole. [...] Stimulation creates cognitive connections. But it is possible for there to be too much stimulation. We don't want a disconnected, numb society, nor a society of unequal social connections.

3) Homophily. In a networked world, people connect to people like themselves. What flows across the network flows through edges of similarity. [...] Information can and does flow in ways that create and reinforce social divides.  [...]Ironically, the one place where I'm finding people are being forced to think outside their box is the Trending Topics on Twitter.

4) Power. Power is about being able to command attention, influence others' attention, and otherwise traffic in information. We give power to people when we give them our attention and people gain power when they bridge between different worlds and determine what information can and will flow across the network. [...] should you give credit to the author of the content or acknowledge the person through whom you learned of the information? Instinctually, many might believe that the author is the most important person to credit. But, few ideas are truly the product of just one individual. So why not credit the messenger who is helping the content flow? We found that reasonable people disagreed about what was best. [...] What's emerging is not inherently the power of the creators, but the power of the modern-day information brokers. [..]

Making It Work

As our information ecosystem evolves, we will see some radical changes take place. First, I believe that information spaces will get more niche. We will see evidence of this in the ways people direct their attention, and also in what new enterprises are succeeding. [...] To be relevant today requires understanding context, popularity, and reputation. [..] Making content work in a networked era is going to be about living in the streams, consuming and producing alongside "customers." Consuming to understand, producing to be relevant.
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We need technological innovations. For example, tools that allow people to more easily contextualize relevant content regardless of where they are and what they are doing and tools that allow people to slice and dice content so as to not reach information overload. This is not simply about aggregating or curating content to create personalized destination sites. Frankly, I don't think this will work. Instead, the tools that consumers need are those that allow them to get into flow, that allow them to live inside information structures wherever they are, whatever they're doing. The tools that allow them to easily grab what they need and stay peripherally aware without feeling overwhelmed.
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Figuring out how to monetize sociality is a problem, and not one that’s new to the Internet. Think about how we monetize sociality in physical spaces. Typically, it involves second-order consumption of calories. Venues provide a space for social interaction to occur and we are expected to consume to pay rent. Restaurants, bars, cafes… they all survive on this model. But we have yet to find the digital equivalent of alcohol."

Streams of Content, Limited Attention | UX Magazine

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The flow of information through social media.