Attention is Power

If you’re irritated about the way influencers seem to be jumping from one web app to another, you aren’t alone. Dave Slusher just renounced ‘the search for the newer and shinier,’ and I suspect many others will follow after Facebook becomes passé.

What Dave doesn’t realize is that it is in the nature of early influencers’ attention to be transitory. The reason they jump from one app to another is precisely because they are early influencers, and people pay attention to them precisely because they try things before anyone else.

In fact, I could even go so far as to say that, if they stop trying the new and shiny, attention to them will dwindle.

What Slusher has done (by unsubscribing) is exercise the power he does have, which is attention. If attention is what causes these web apps to become popular, it is also the thing that causes early influencers power to expand– attention is the very nature of power on the web.

So if you’re waiting for your web app to get picked up by Scoble, Arrington, or anyone else, I wouldn’t hold my breath. Even if you are the new Facebook, it is in their very nature to drop the old as the new and shiny comes along.

It happens in Hollywood, it happens in electronics, and it happens on the web. One day, you and your app, your weblog, or your podcast, will be over.

Start working on your next thing NOW.



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6 responses to “Attention is Power”

  1. Mat Avatar

    “Attention is the very nature of power on the web.”

    Well-put Julien. It’s the kind of reality that makes me a little bit uncomfortable in its obviousness, yet truthfulness.

  2. Dave Avatar

    Julien, I do realize that about early influencers. I also know that I’m not interested in that anymore, which is why I so publicly dropped Scoble. Not only do I not want to spend my time switching from platform to platform, I also don’t want to read about it.

  3. Robert Scoble Avatar

    Dave: for someone who doesn’t want to read about it you sure seem to be showing up on a lot of blogs that are writing about new things, including Facebook.

  4. Clyde Smith Avatar

    Nice call. You’ve got a good eye for this stuff and it helps me know where to look.

    Do you think the Facebook frenzy is even more over the top than usual?

    Something like the iPhone makes sense for the kind of attention it gets and everybody knows they’ll move on, either to another phone or the next iteration.

    But this Facebook thing seems over the top and the early adopters seem to think it will last forever. One of those TechCrunch guys is even asking, is it the next Microsoft?

    I think that’s ridiculous but you would know better than I if this is more of the same or is it qualitatively different from previous frenzies.

    I’d love to hear what you’d have to say on that.

  5. Julien Avatar

    Dave Slusher and Scoble fighting on my blog… hmmm

    Clyde: What’s really interesting to me is that the ‘early adopters’ I mention in this post are NOT actually the first adopters of Facebook– they’re just the first adopters of Facebook among the digirati, and they have wider reach than the average, say, teenage user of the site. That’s why the response is more remarkable (also, written down rather than verbal).

    Is it the next Microsoft? Well, Facebook seems to actually be improving, unlike Myspace before it. There’s something there. Whether a company offering free services can ever become a monolith cornerstone of computing or the web… I doubt that somehow.

    Maybe there’s a whole blog post here…

  6. Clyde Smith Avatar

    Thanks. Interesting point.

    By the way, I think you’re the first Media 2.0 type blogger to answer one of my direct questions in the comments. Thanks for not forgetting us little people!

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