The attention economy has come true

Recently I have found myself returning to this classic piece by Michael Goldhaber, published in April 1997!: The attention economy and the Net. In this piece Goldhaber lays out what has most certainly come true: that our attention is what is valuable in an information age. From the summary:

“If the Web and the Net can be viewed as spaces in which we will increasingly live our lives, the economic laws we will live under have to be natural to this new space. These laws turn out to be quite different from what the old economics teaches, or what rubrics such as “the information age” suggest. What counts most is what is most scarce now, namely attention.”

Goldhaber was building upon the work of many others, but his piece was the first one I read which made the concept of an attention economy click. Another money quote:

“getting attention is not a momentary thing; you build on the stock you have every time you get any, and the larger your audience at one time, the larger your potential audience in the future. Thus obtaining attention is obtaining a kind of enduring wealth, a form of wealth that puts you in a preferred position to get anything this new economy offers.”

It’s a long piece…recommended for weekend reading: The attention economy and the Net

Published: May 9th, 2014