|Please Note: When you click the links for the articles below, you will sometimes be taken DIRECTLY to the article and can simply start reading (this means the article is OPEN ACCESS). At other times, the article has copyright protection and the link is not direct. If an article has copyright protection, you have to log in to this system to see the article. You will get a message that says: "The e-Portfolio you are trying to reach is not accessible to the public. Please login and try again." Use the small sheet of paper distributed in class with your ePortfolio username and password to gain access. It may ask you to input information as a first-time user but that should be straightforward. You will be taken to a special, protected page with many PDFs there. Choose the PDF that corresponds with your chosen author(s).|
A Place to Start
Watch these two videos featuring David Brin.
"The Attention Economy" by Tom Chatfield Click here for article.
How many other things are you doing right now while you're reading this piece? Are you also checking your email, glancing at your Twitter feed, and updating your Facebook page? What five years ago David Foster Wallace labelled ‘Total Noise’ — ‘the seething static of every particular thing and experience, and one’s total freedom of infinite choice about what to choose to attend to’ — is today just part of the texture of living on a planet that will, by next year, boast one mobile phone for each of its seven billion inhabitants. We are all amateur attention economists, hoarding and bartering our moments — or watching them slip away down the cracks of a thousand YouTube clips. If you’re using a free online service, the adage goes, you are the product. It’s an arresting line, but one that deserves putting more precisely: it’s not you, but your behavioural data and the quantifiable facts of your engagement that are constantly blended for sale, with the aggregate of every single interaction (yours included) becoming a mechanism for ever-more-finely tuning the business of attracting and retaining users.
"Attention Shoppers!" by Michael Goldhaber Click here for article.
As is now obvious, the economies of the industrialized nations - and especially that of the US - have shifted dramatically. We've turned a corner toward an economy where an increasing number of workers are no longer involved directly in the production, transportation, and distribution of material goods, but instead earn their living managing or dealing with information in some form. Most call this an "information economy." Yet, ours is not truly an information economy. By definition, economics is the study of how a society uses its scarce resources. And information is not scarce - especially on the Net, where it is not only abundant, but overflowing. We are drowning in information, yet constantly increasing our generation of it. So a key question arises: Is there something else that flows through cyberspace, something that is scarce and desirable? There is. No one would put anything on the Internet without the hope of obtaining some. It's called attention. And the economy of attention - not information - is the natural economy of cyberspace. Attention has its own behavior, its own dynamics, its own consequences. An economy built on it will be different than the familiar material-based one.
"The Attention Economy and the Net" by Michael Goldhaber (an extended version of the ideas above) Click here for reading.
If the Web and the Net can be viewed as spaces in which we will increasingly live our lives, the economic laws we will live under have to be natural to this new space. These laws turn out to be quite different from what the old economics teaches, or what rubrics such as "the information age" suggest. What counts most is what is most scarce now, namely attention. The attention economy brings with it its own kind of wealth, its own class divisions - stars vs. fans - and its own forms of property, all of which make it incompatible with the industrial-money-market based economy it bids fair to replace. Success will come to those who best accommodate to this new reality.
Free Culture: How Big Media Uses Technology and the Law to Lock Down Culture and Control Creativity by Lawrence Lessig Click here for PDF of book (read the introduction and any ONE chapter at least)
"This is the third book by Stanford law professor Larry Lessig, and the third now in which he furthers his basic theme: that the ancien regime of intellectual property owners is locked in a battle with the capabilities of new technology. Lessig used his first book, Code and Other Laws of Cyberspace (Basic Books, 1999), to explain that the notion of cyberspace as free, open, and anarchic is simply a myth, and a dangerous one at that: the very architecture of our computers and how they communicate determine what one can and cannot do within that environment. If you can get control of that architecture, say by mandating filters on content, you can get substantial control over the culture of that communication space. In his second book, The Future of Ideas: the Fate of the Commons in a Connected World (Random House, 2001), Lessig describes how the change from real property to virtual property actually means more opportunity for control, not less. The theme that he takes up in Free Culture is his concern that certain powerful interests in our society (read: Hollywood) are using copyright law to lock down the very stuff of creativity: mainly, past creativity." (This book synopsis was written by by Karen Coyle in Information Technology and Libraries).
"Towards Hacker Literacies: What Facebook’s Privacy Snafus Can Teach Us about empowered Technological Practices" by Rafo Santo Click here for article.
"The Disconnectionists" by Nathan Jurgenson Click here for article.
Once upon a pre-digital era, there existed a golden age of personal authenticity, a time before social-media profiles when we were more true to ourselves, when the sense of who we are was held firmly together by geographic space, physical reality, the visceral actuality of flesh. Without Klout-like metrics quantifying our worth, identity did not have to be oriented toward seeming successful or scheming for attention. According to this popular fairytale, the Internet arrived and real conversation, interaction, identity slowly came to be displaced by the allure of the virtual — the simulated second life that uproots and disembodies the authentic self in favor of digital status-posturing, empty interaction, and addictive connection... That retelling may be a bit hyperbolic, but the cultural preoccupation is inescapable. How and when one looks at a glowing screen has generated its own pervasive popular discourse, with buzzwords like digital detox, disconnection, and unplugging to address profound concerns over who is still human, who is having true experiences, what is even “real” at all... It is worth asking why these self-appointed judges have emerged, why this moral preoccupation with immoderate digital connection is so popular, and how this mode of connection came to demand such assessment and confession, at such great length and detail.