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Dana Dana Blankenhorn has been a business journalist for over 25 years and has covered the online world professionally since 1985. He founded the "Interactive Age Daily" for CMP Media, and has written for the Chicago Tribune, Advertising Age, and dozens of other publications over the years.
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Moore’s Law defines the history of technology. It held that the number of circuits etched on a given piece of silicon could double every 18 months as far as its author, Intel co-founder Gordon Moore, could see. Moore’s Law has spawned constant revolutions since then, not just in computing but in communications, in science, in a host of areas. Moore’s Law applies to radios, and to optical fiber, but there are some areas where it doesn’t apply. In this blog we’ll take a daily look at new implications of Moore’s Law in real time, as it rolls forward to create our future.
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April 12, 2005

The Attention Economy

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Posted by Dana Blankenhorn

DPRPhotoSmall.jpg In a nice commentary about how Wired is now Tired, David P. Reed (left) got me thinking about what today's key economic good might be.

The answer is attention. The world is entering an attention economy.

In many ways this is not news. What's news is how we're bifurcating our attention -- splitting it into parts -- and how media must now compete for slices of it. (Would this item get more hits if I called it The ADD Economy?)

It's a worldwide phenomenom because cellular or mobile service is worldwide. Mobile service competes well in the Attention Economy. Watch people chat on their phones while driving. (It's like elephants tap-dancing -- what's amazing is they do it.)

More after the break.

The iPod is another Attention Economy artifact. Watch the iPod dancers on the commercials. See how they're doing two things at once -- listening and dancing?

We often divide our attention while online. I've got several windows open on this computer. I can be running iTunes, I can have the TV on, I can be talking to my lovely bride, all at the very same time. Anyone can do this.

You can divide attention horizontally -- doing several things at once -- but you can also divide it vertically. There's my conscious attention, what I know I'm thinking of, then there's my subconscious attention, even my unconscious attention. My next item for this blog might be bubbling away in my unconscious right now, or I might be subconsciously considering my next meal.

Marketers, of course, want to play in all these areas but they can't. There is always going to be an editorial side of your attention and a marketing side. We're talking about our own internal space, and anyone who's consuming ads on every level, in every channel, is worthless to those advertisers because none of their attention is focused on buying anything.

There's a lot more to say about the attention economy. Consider this a book proposal.

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