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Into the cloud: the long tail and the attention economy
Transcript of Into the cloud: the long tail and the attention economy
strong quality filter
high cost to the user
zero/low cost of entry
no cost to the user
no quality filter
publishing content costs nothing to the producer
high cost of publishing and accessing content
a business model based on
a platform with built-in
accessing it costs nothing to the user
network nodes can
modify the flow
The internet is
a copy machine.
At its most foundational level, it copies every action, every character, every thought we make while we ride upon it. In order to send a message from one corner of the internet to another, the protocols of communication demand that the whole message be copied along the way several times. The digital economy is thus run on
a river of copies
. Unlike the mass-produced reproductions of the machine age, these copies are not just cheap, they are free.
Why would you ever pay for anything that you could get for free?
[The internet imposes] no barriers to entry,
no economies of scale
, no limits on supply.
immediacy, patronage, personalisation, authenticity accessibility, findability, embodiment, interpretation
Diversity plus freedom of choice creates inequality, and the greater the diversity, the more extreme the inequality.
the very act of choosing, spread widely enough and freely enough, creates a power law distribution
When copies are free, you need to sell things which cannot be copied
think 'first in line'
think custom copies
think creator autographs
think cloud computing
think 'the hidden gem'
think live stage performance
think manuals, guides, cheat-sheets
What happens when everyone becomes a content
the hit-driven model
the long tail
the attention economy
legacy media channels
'the people formerly known as the audience'
Mass amateurization is the web's normal pattern. Travelocity doesn't make everyone a travel agent. It undermines the value of being travel agent at all, by fixing the inefficiencies travel agents are paid to overcome one booking at a time. Weblogs fix the inefficiencies traditional publishers are paid to overcome one book at a time, and
in a world where publishing is that efficient, it is no longer an activity worth paying for
value appears as an emergent
aggregate of participation
I am a niche market of
the future of entertainment is in the millions of niche markets at the shallow end of the bitstream
infinite shelf space
real-time information about buying trends
insatiable demand for niche content
data storage costs moving to
from hit-driven culture to aggregates of niches
the market for books that are not even sold in the average bookstore
is larger than the market for those that are
It doesn't matter if the several thousand people who rent Doctor Who episodes each month are in one city or spread, one per town, across the country - the economics are the same to Netflix. It has, in short,
broken the tyranny of physical space
. What matters is not where customers are, or even how many of them are seeking a particular title, but only that
some number of them exist, anywhere
first in line often commands an extra price for the same good
you can't copy the personal aspects of a relationship
the artist's signature raises the price of the copy
access to all the content you want, whenever you want, anywhere
no matter what its price, a work has no value unless it is seen; unfound masterpieces are worthless
the music is free; the physical performance expensive
software - free
the manual - $10,000
stuff which can't be copied becomes scarce and valuable
In short, the money in this networked economy
does not follow the path of the copies
. Rather it follows the path of attention, and attention has its own circuits.
the value of the software is proportional to the scale and dynamism of the data it helps to manage
the service automatically
gets better the more people use it
the architecture of participation
Much as synapses form in the brain, with associations becoming stronger through repetition or intensity, the web of connections grows organically as an
output of the collective activity of all
One of the key lessons of the Web 2.0 era is this:
Users add value
. But only a small percentage of users will go to the trouble of adding value to your application via explicit means. Therefore, Web 2.0 companies set inclusive defaults for aggregating user data and building
value as a side-effect of ordinary use
of the application. [They] build
systems that get better the more people use them
building community value
as a side effect
the open source dictum, "release early and release often" in fact has morphed into an even more radical position, "the perpetual beta," in which
the product is developed in the open
, with new features slipstreamed in on a monthly, weekly, or even daily basis
Borders shelf space
amazon shelf space
network effects of aggregation
seen this film?
how about this one?
limits of scale, cost of entry, and risk impose a business model where
the lowest common denominator always wins
the hit-driven model
a mass-market always beats a niche market
but a distributed information network is
an aggregate of niches
abundance of information
scarcity of attention
an abundance of information
leads to scarcity of attention
online, we are legion
the tyranny of physical space?
of physical space
INTO THE CLOUD
when copies are super abundant
the long tail and the attention economy
unless repressive ecology
if we presume that
the main commodity
in an information economy
is content, then...
in the legacy [industrial] media model
the logic of aggregates
The Long Tail
give a random group of people complete freedom to choose between a range of diverse options, and they will inevitably create a power law distribution
the distribution of wikipedia editors
they become worthless
this is not a question about ethics...
DIGC202 Global Networks
Dr Teodor Mitew
a distributed information network where every node can potentially
broadcast to the entire network
an economy based on knowledge production
a paradigm where the former consumers are now also the biggest producers of content
a paradigm permeated by the logic of
personal information spaces
a paradigm of information