// Welcome to the #attentioneconomy  

In this brave new world, we'll each have unique markers which identify us as unique persons. Some of us will maintain several such markers, and for all intents and purposes function as several distinct persons. Others won't bother marking their activity at all, and will effectively be ghosts in the machine, passing by without a trace.

But most of us[1] will mark our activity (both online and off) with tags that signify to all the world that we were there, which in an attention economy is more than enough to leave a mark. And as we contribute more activity, the signals we leave become more potent, like the building up of pheromones along a well-worked ant trail. 

The marks I leave on my environment are a measure of my influence, and thus function for me as emblems of authority, rank, and caste in the networks where I've earned those pips. It is also a measure of the compensation fairly accorded to me on the basis of this activity, since it constitutes a record of the labor which I've contributed to those networks. 

If you have my coin-- if you bear my mark-- and if I have control over the situations and methods by which this coin is spread, then you are in my network and I have some readily available way of engaging you that I can be sure will be beneficial to us both. 

For these reasons, an attention economy operates in a way that would be unthinkable in the 20th century: we'll have no need for formal employment or contractual obligations. We'll waste virtually none of our time managing our books, pinching our pennies, or thinking about our economic possibilities in terms of debts and credits. And yet underneath a frictionless social gift economy will reside a capitalist dream of densely layered microtransactions and thriving markets of competition, designed not to fuel limitless growth but to find stable optima in the biggest game ever played. 

[1] And by 'us' I mean any system that wishes to be recognized by our economy of attention, including us as persons but also our parts (my cellphone, for instance) and also the superorganisms we compose (my country. See: http://goo.gl/AYb3Hi). 

I'm imagining each level of organization being represented by a token in coinspace that marks its environment of activity in analogous ways. 

#digitalpolitics   #digitalculture   #complexity   #organization  
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