What is Attention Data?

Saturday August 19th, 2006 in , , ,

To answer this question let’s start with attention. Simply put, attention is time spent interacting with someone or something. Sounds pretty abstract, I know, but that’s kind of the idea. Let me give you a few examples of attention:

  • Talking to someone
  • Reading a book, listening to music or watching a movie
  • Taking a picture

Not that many years ago we did these activities by sitting or standing across each other, holding a piece of dead tree and finally by means of analog film that we would have to get developed.

Today, we can pretty much do the same things using video conferencing, webcams, e-books, ipods and digital cameras to name but a few. The big difference is that when you go digital it’s much easier and very valuable to keep track of what you pay attention to - this is in essence what attention data is all about:

Attention data is a digital record that describes the
time spent interacting with someone or something.

This means that attention data can pretty much cover anything we do that has some kind of digital footprint, including:

  • books - that I bought, read, recommended or wished for
  • movies and videos - that I saw at the cinema, own on DVD, streamed online etc.
  • music - CDs that I’ve bought and listened to, my playlists, radio etc.
  • games - that I own and play online
  • photos - that I took and how I browse my photo collection
  • websites and blogs - that I read, my bookmarks, blogrolls, rss and opml
  • events and places - calendar entries for concerts, meetups, vacations etc.
  • people in my social network - communities that I participate in, my contacts and friends lists, my subscriptions etc.

As you probably noticed, keeping records with this kind of data has major implications for consuming and discovering products, our social interactions online and last but not least identity and privacy.  

Using Attention to Create Value

How is value created using attention data? As I see it, there are at least six different flavors:

  • Personal value - improved user experience and productivity
  • Network value - use your network to learn and discover, build relationships and strengthen friendships
  • Enterprise value - optimize the use of available resources within the enterprise including people and their competencies
  • Community value - expand your social network and discover outside the limits of your existing social network
  • Consumer value - better customer service through personalization and recommendations
  • Global value - smarter search and better relevance in online search

As mentioned earlier in this post, attention data has a lot of implications that I will continue to write about - including a detailed look at the different kinds of value that attention data creates. In the mean time, your comments and thoughts are very much welcome. I’ll leave you with this to consider:

How are you creating value from your attention data?



3 Responses to “What is Attention Data?”

  1. Metaportal der Medienpolemik Says:

    What is Attention Data…

    Jim Meyer describes attention data like if his mom was asking (This is a good thing, I’m not ironic…this time)….

  2. Chris Saad Says:

    Heya Jim

    Great post - notice you have basically just started the blog - keep up the great work.

    Manual trackback for this post too:

    - Chris

  3. Using Attention » Blog Archive » Attention Brings Service Online Says:

    […] We’ve established that we all spend attention. The challenge ahead is to maximize the “return of attention”. Ideally, I want relevant products and information at my fingertips. Products that are a perfect match for me, information I can use and enjoy. How can we achieve this? Logic dictates that in order to do this better, the source of these products and information needs to know more about me - my likes and dislikes, what I’ve done previously. This is where attention data comes into play. […]

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