Category Archives: Attention.xml

Public Information Shouldn't Require a Subpeona

I’ve been thinking about this quite a bit lately.

I consider all my web searches, this post – and generally anything that’s not email or an instant messsage – public.

Now, I’m cool with 1 million random results from the index being handed over to the government under one single condition – anyone, anyone at all, a PhD candidate, a 6th grader, a homeless political candidate – request and receive the same information.

Yes. In the same way I feel all the security cameras on Nicollet Avenue should be accessible via a web browser by the general public – any of you should be able to request the same information. Outside of quantity – I’m not sure how this is different than Google’s Zeitgeist.

Actually, the fact we don’t have easy access to this information seems like a public disservice.

The Government is Really in the Attention Business

Hitting shuffle on the ‘unlistened podcast’ playlist this evening I hit Steve Gilmor’s conversation with Doc Searls on Attention back in November and the just published On the Media on the NSA eavesdropping on Americans for the last 4 years.

Yes, in fact, I would like to see an AttentionTrust badge at nsa.gov (btw – why does the NSA have a Flash intro?).

Pandora.com – The Good and the Annoying

Apologies for no Tuesday Triple Play this week. Perhaps a review of Pandora.com will make up for it.

On a tip from Steve Borsch – I started a couple Pandora stations using two of my favorite bands as starting points (Too Much Joy Station, Transplants Station).

On the plus side
I’ve got nearly a solid work day of listening behind each and all the recommendations have very much been in the same vein as the originating artist. Even some other songs from other artists in my library have popped up.

Without Pandora, I wouldn’t have found Lucky Boys Confusion. So, a win for Pandora.

I’ve been using the jrc’s Pandora Dashboard Widget – which is more convenient and persistent than a browser window for me.

I’m only rating the songs (thumbs up/thumbs down) if I feel strongly one way or another – and just letting ‘OK’ songs run unrated. Hopefully that’s a feature and not a bug.

Giving a song the thumbs down stops it from playing and automatically jumps to the next song. Nice.

On the downside
Everything about Pandora is in Flash. Everything – from handling account info, to emailing the station links, to controlling volume, and rating tracks. Annoying.

Especially annoying because a double-click is needed within the Dashboard widget to trigger anything.

I’d like an easy way to see all the songs played in a station since it’s conception and how I rated them. Bonus points for providing it as an RSS feed. I’ve only seen what I’ve rated, and I now don’t remember where I found it. Yes, I’m talking Attention.

A station’s URL should be obvious. I shouldn’t need to email it to myself to add it to a weblog post.

Thats all for now.

UPDATE 31 Dec 2005
Hearing the same song twice in the same listening session is annoying. This is the problem I’ve had with broadcast radio for years and with my iTunes/iPod pre-podcasting. Sure, I have playlists set up to play and repeat. I’m controlling that. When I’m listening to Pandora, I want to continually discover new music. If I want something repeated, I’ll hit replay it myself. Conceiveably, Pandora has access to all the music in the world. Unfortunately, after 10 days, it sounds like I’ve hit the limits of their catalog.

A Case for Attention.xml

A couple months back, I was shopping for a new car, Jen and I spent hours combing automakers websites looking at their models, the model’s specs, comparing it against the car we wanted to buy.

Ford knows I went to their site. Honda knows I went to their site. Both know which models I looked at, which pages I loaded, and where I left. If they don’t…well…that’s a different post. They don’t know what of their competitors’ offering I studied. I’m happy to share that with them and anyone else interested. Ford might just glean I’m intrigued with the Honda Element but feel its mph is irresponsible. Honda might just glean that Ford still doesn’t have anything interesting. You might glean I’m looking for a stylish 4-door wagon-type vehicle with decent mileage – and might be able to make a recommendation.

At the transaction level, all I’d let Ford and Honda know about me is: in Minnesota, on a Mac, currently owns a Dodge Neon. No other personally identifiable information – unless they gave me a reason to offer it. You on the other hand, may know more about me. You might even have my email address, phone number, and some other bit of information both unique to me and integral to my car buying.

Notice the difference between in the information you, my friend and loyal reader, have and the information I’ve given the automakers.

What would the automakers have to offer me for the same level of information I’ve offered you?

Welcome to the Attention Economy.

Steve Gillmor’s Not Kidding about it. He’s started the non-profit AttentionTrust to prove it. Seth Goldstein is on board, and concisely states the need for an Attention marketplace,

“Our attention establishes intention; and our intention establishes economic value. Once one recognizes the value of one’s attention, it is shocking to see how cheaply most people offer theirs to companies looking for their business.”

Attention.xml, or something like it has huge implications for measuring the success of a conversation. It has the potential to solve the problems of Nielsen ratings, web metrics, and counting a podcasts listeners.

We Edit Each Others Media in a Post-Filter World

Previously, I’ve talked about the a Business Model for Abundance and what price means in an age of abundance.

Seems like a meme going around.

“Soon everything will make it to market and the real opportunity will be in sorting it all out.” – Chris Anderson

Yes, I see Attention.xml playing a big role in this. And I’ve got the napkin sketches to prove it.

Your Attention.xml Please

If you haven’t heard me proclaim, “RSS killed the visual web designer”, now you have.

Quickly stated, RSS is a structured format for distributing text, audio (podcasting), video (vlogging), even applications in a convenient and anonymous way.

For the publisher, RSS means the timeliness of email without the worry about spam filtering. For the reader, RSS means the convenience of email with the anonymity of a web page.

The downside is metrics.

Measuring behavior on websites is always nebulous. Robots, routers, giant ISPs can all throw off numbers. For publishers RSS doesn’t really help this problem. For readers, there’s a slightly different problem – once you’ve aggregated your 200 favorite websites into a single place, what do you pay attention to.

Cody and I have been talking about Attention.xml solving the both problems.

I’m interested in how Attention.xml can tighten the publisher-reader relationship and help readers share what’s interesting to them with friends. While also giving Cody and I better numbers on our respective podcasts.

More thoughts and prototypes on this later.