Marketing Director

Information Fatigue & Attention Scarcity

"What does an abundance of information create? A scarcity of attention."
- Herbert Simon, 1971.
Original Photo By: obo-bobolina remixed under Creative Commons License
I stumbled onto a video (check it out below) by social media and wine guy Gary Vaynerchuk making some groundbreaking personal statements about the way that Twitter, conference calls, webinars, advice giving and speaking gigs have burned him out and he wants to 'play more basketball' among other things. His comments are fair and honest. I have noticed this kind of social media and information fatigue among users new and old. The video starts at the point when he says he's going to give up using Twitter and I think he is pointing out a fundamental flaw in the current online economy; we are not considering the scarcity of attention. Join me for more after Gary's Video:

Attention Scarcity
and information fatigue don't just effect people like Gary Vee and Oprah. We all know lots of people, some experts and others newbies, who are currently experiencing information overload and I am sure you do too. I came across the Attention Economics on Wikipedia. Where it is defined as "an approach to the management of information that treats human attention as a scarce commodity, and applies economic theory to solve various information management problems".
The entry is very thorough and discusses taking advantage of these technologies for financial marketing and sales benefit lending to its origins within sales and marketing particularly online. The Looming Attention Crisis is discussed briefly in this post. Fast Company's John Hagel does a great job discussing the problem and ROA (return on attention) in this post. ReadWriteWeb covers the Attention economy in a smart way in this post. They quote a group calling themselves the AttentionTrust who created these basic consumer rights in the attention economy:
  • Property: You own your attention and can store it wherever you wish.
  • Mobility: You can securely move your attention wherever you want, whenever you want to.
  • Economy: You can pay attention to whomever you wish and receive value in return.
  • Transparency: You can see exactly how your attention is being used.
The Value of Attention comes from three rules:
  1. You have CONTROL
  2. You have the ability to TRANSFER your attention
  3. Your attention has WORTH
Does your attention have worth? Are you experiencing information atigue? Do you battle attention scarcity? What do you do to overcome attention scarcity? What tools do you use?

1 comment:

  1. Interesting article. I agree that having Twitter running on the desktop at work can definitely contribute to information overload and be a significant distraction from work. But hey, I found this article on Twitter so it has some value.