Welcome to the bloggy home of Noah Brier. I'm the co-founder of Percolate and general internet tinkerer. This site is about media, culture, technology, and randomness. It's been around since 2004 (I'm pretty sure). Feel free to get in touch. Get in touch.

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Attention-casting

I’ve been trying to write intelligently about the idea of ‘data-blogging’ for a while, but haven’t been able to articulate it all that well up to this point. In “Blog Everything”, I wrote “as a result of digital technology and the metadata it creates, we are able to share parts of our lives in much more fluid ways.” I then proceeded to go into the example of exposing your Netflix queue to your friends and the social implications of the whole thing.

Disregarding the social stuff for the moment, the bigger point is that we now have tools to broadcast our attention. As a result, attention is now media.

If you visit my homepage, you’ll see the Sidenotes in the right-hand column. That is an ever-changing list of links I find interesting. In my mind, the Sidenotes are an equal member of this site with my original entries. As I wrote a while back, “I decided to add the links as content because I believe that’s just what they are: Content. What I tend to do here is annotate/comment on other media. I read things and link to them with my own thoughts and opinions. While that’s not the entirety of the site, it is probably the majority. So with that in mind, why should the links themselves not be given equal real estate?”

Essentially the Sidenotes are a running log of what websites I’m paying attention to. They are a peak into my mind and can spur conversation. In a similar way, I am broadcasting my movies to friends through Netflix, my music through last.fm and my clickstream through Root.

One of the things I feel like I’m always quoting here is Kottke’s 2005 entry on “The fundamental unit of the web”. In it he writes that the web is shrinking: From sites, to pages, posts/permalinks and finally to links. To me, single bits of attention data is the obvious next step (is attentron the appropriate term Seth?).

All it took to turn millions of people into bloggers was a simple interface for posting to the web. Who is to say that Netflix and last.fm aren’t the same thing? Both allow you to broadcast yourself to the world. But even more than that, all these tools cut down the levels of mediation between people. Blogs are so revolutionary because it’s a fairly unfiltered look at people. Linklogs are even less filtered because they contain the ideas behind the ideas. Now imagine if I exposed every click to you, now you know the path behind the ideas that make the ideas (sorry for that).

I guess the question is do you want all that? It’s fun to spy on your friends movie-watching habits, but how deep to you really need to go? (I really don’t know the answer to this, need to give it more though.)

December 6, 2006