Attention Economy for Associations Podcast

As promised, here is the podcast that Ben and I recorded this morning. It runs just shy of 17 minutes.

MP3 File

One note: In the recording we mention that the Attention Trust sells attention data. I believe this is incorrect in that they offer a service for storing your own attention data online but do not sell that data. What benefit this offers to the individual is unclear to me. Maybe Ed Batista can chime in here on the comments on what benefit you would receive from loading your data into one of their providers.

3 thoughts on “Attention Economy for Associations Podcast

  1. Hi David,
    Your update is correct–AttentionTrust does not sell attention data. In fact, AttentionTrust has no attention data to sell. We are not a repository for users’ attention data. Our mission as a nonprofit is to educate people about the existence and potential value of attention data, and to empower people to exert greater control over their own attention data, by promoting our principles and by sharing our free, open source Attention Recorder.

    Users of our Attention Recorder can opt to store their data locally, or share it with a third-party service that will analyze it for them and provide some benefit in exchange. Currently two such “attention services” are up and running: Root Markets, which gives users a number of different perspectives on their data, allows users to exchange data with other individuals, and which has a number of other plans, and Uplift Academy, a nonprofit learning community that is using the Attention Recorder to better understand what sites its members are visiting most frequently. (Full disclosure: Seth Goldstein, who co-founded AttentionTrust with Steve Gillmor, is Root’s CEO) AttentionTrust operates a demonstration attention service, the “Acme Attention Service,” which we launched when we released the Recorder last Fall, but it’s simply an opt-in, anonymous pool of data that shows a list of sites visited by contributing users.

    I’m sorry I couldn’t join you for the podcast, but I’d be happy to do another and talk at greater length about attention and AttentionTrust. Just drop me a line–and thanks for the offer!

    Ed Batista
    Executive Director, AttentionTrust

  2. Interesting podcast. A couple of thoughts:

    1. Time and attention are not the same thing. Time is about length, while attention is about depth. We can be involved in a meeting for a very long time, but never devote attention to what is being said. On the other hand, we can be deeply engaged in a rich conversation for a very short time and produce a breakthrough in thinking. Inevitably, time is spent, while attention is invested.

    2. The goal of better understanding human attention is to help facilitate engagement. In their book, The Attention Economy, Tom Davenport and John Beck define attention as “focused mental engagement” on a particular activity. They discuss attention along three dimensions: 1) aversive/attractive, 2) captive/voluntary and 3) front-of-mind/back-of-mind. For all organizations, and especially associations, all efforts should emphasize voluntary, attractive and front-of-mind attention strategies.

    3. In associations, we need to look at how we can maximize the value of member attention across the board. I think associations can help their members manage individual attention by delivering context to material that would otherwise be information that cannot be made actionable. At the organizational level, facilitating better strategy-making can be viewed as a way of focusing and intelligently investing limited and highly fragmented attention resources for maximum impact. From my perspective, the implications of attention go far beyond the sales, marketing and communications aspects of association work.

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