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A Short Manifesto on the Future of Attention

Making something “free” is obviously an allocation strategy. “Free” attracts attention. Making things brief is an allocation strategy as well. The problem is that free isn’t sustainable, and that brief is underpriced.

We need a Ronald Reagan of attention, someone to inspire us away from the fight over smaller and smaller pieces of the attention pie. Someone who will inspire us to make the attention pie bigger.

I imagine attention festivals: week-long multimedia, cross-industry carnivals of readings, installations, and performances, where you go from a tent with 30-second films, guitar solos, 10-minute video games, and haiku to the tent with only Andy Warhol movies, to a myriad of venues with other media forms and activities requiring other attention lengths. In the Nano Tent, you can hear ringtones and read tweets. A festival organized not by the forms of the commodities themselves but of the experience of interacting with them. Not organized by time elapsed, but by cognitive investment: a pop song, which goes by quickly, can resonate for days; a poem, which can go by more quickly, sticks through a season. A festival in which you can see images of your brain on knitting and on Twitter.


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2 comments posted.


  1. Alan the Houser says:

    Sorry, now what were you saying?

    Oh ya, on the point of “FREE” stuff, I encourage you to grab Chris Anderson’s audio book from Audible (it’s free, btw) titled: “FREE: The Future of a Radical Price”. It’s a great read (listen).

    And yes — my attention span is so short they I have to jack audio into my ears to leave my eyes free to consume what they will at the same time.

  2. Alan the Houser says:

    oh, teehee. I see the reference to the “Free” book after the jump. Peace and out.

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