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Marketing, Social Media, Technology

Step Aside Information Age, the Attention Age is Here

Transition from Information Age to Attention Age showing information overload on a computer screen

Remember when everyone marveled about living in the Information Age?  Oh how we delighted in scouring the internet for information on just about anything we could think of.  And there it would be waiting for us like a pie on a windowsill.

Well, that time has passed.

Now we don’t need to search for that warm information pie.  We’re fed a nonstop buffet of information based on our previous Google searches, iTunes buying history, Facebook profile, del.icio.us tags, and recently watched videos.  We even subscribe to RSS feeds and follow people on Twitter to get up-to-the minute information delivered right to us.  What’s more–it’s all on our iPhones and Blackberrys!

Some estimates reckon that by 2013 the quantity of information on the Internet will double roughly every 72 hours.  With all of this information coming from all directions how can we consume it all?  There’s just not enough time in the day!

Welcome to the Attention Age.  The Information Overload Age.  The age of human history in which information has become so abundant and readily available that attention has become the greatest commodity.

Web giants like Google and social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook created a shift in the way we consume information.  For the first time in human history, valuable, instantly-accessible, sharable information is more abundant than the resources it takes to consume it.  We live in a world in which we must ration our attention properly or we risk suffering from what Timothy Young calls “infobesity”.  We will need to learn to consume more high-quality content rather than wasting our attention on sugary YouTube videos.

To hand-hold you in this process of consuming information, Rohit Bhargava has come up with a very Attention Age job–the “Content Curator”.  A Content Curator is someone who continually finds, groups, organizes and shares the best and most relevant content on a specific issue online.

To add complication, information is quickly becoming an added layer to our reality: enter augmented reality.  While augmented reality has been used for years to demarcate the first down line in football for TV audiences, it’s now available on phones with apps like Layar and Yelp to add information to what we are currently viewing in real-life.  Technologists are working to create a future that will augment walking down the street with: reviews of restaurants, apartment listings, Facebook and Twitter statuses of passersby, points of interest, sales at shops, etc.  All viewable, real-time through a phone or goggles.

The question remains: because the amount of information readily available will continue to increase, how will we manage it?  How will we continue to integrate it into our lives?  How will it continue to complicate and ease our lives?

Just twenty years after the introduction of the World Wide Web, the Information Age has come to an end.  Rest in peace.

Thank you for your attention.



13 thoughts on “Step Aside Information Age, the Attention Age is Here

  1. I thought this was an insightful and relevant article. It really encapsulated what is happening now with the trends online.



    Posted by tasithoughts | October 27, 2009, 9:14 am
  2. About the Content Curator, I think the Maven (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maven) is a good term as well. It’s mentioned in The Tipping Point (Connectors, Mavens, and Salesmen).

    Hope everything’s cool in California!

    Posted by Will Cheatham | December 12, 2009, 7:41 pm
  3. Excellent! I’ve been trying to make this point for sometime, but no one would pay attention! (no pun intended).
    The most important line in this article is this – “…attention has become the greatest commodity.”

    Posted by Robert | May 28, 2010, 5:37 pm
  4. Of course, more will come, each with their own heuristics and algorithms. Which ones are biased or less comprehensive, which ones select for depth better than breadth of coverage? How long before you need a Metamaven just to manage them?

    Posted by Rich | June 7, 2010, 1:36 pm
  5. Really enjoyed this post. I think you get a lot of things right. The “infobesity” concept seems a little shaky though… the ability to choose between mentally stimulating media and vapid, mind-numbing media has always been there, and the latter has always been the one being shoved down our throats. I don’t see how the proliferation of social media has really furthered that significantly, it’s just that there’s new forms of “sugary” media to consume.

    Posted by Tim | June 23, 2010, 6:26 pm


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