Post-attention economy. Three words I strung together in yesterday’s newsletter, laughed at, and then kind of cocked my head and looked at again. It was mostly a gag — this is the season where we stick post- on things, after all — and yet maybe part of my brain wasn’t joking. It came out of Ed Zitron’s recent new selection of pieces on The Next Web about the broken parts of PR, and my own experience of social media as having become irretrievably loud and mechanically detuned. There’s a ceiling on what people can achieve on their own through the old “guerrilla marketing” paradigm, and it’s lowering. And curation can’t be heard so well, either.
I want to connect all these things up as symptoms of end-of-cycle. I could be wrong. Maybe I just have a different vantage on the attention economy, the systems of curation, speech and broadcasting that have obtained online over the last fifteen years. I’m not arguing for a “return” to anything, no kind of rearguard action: more waiting to see what the next cycle looks like.
In the meantime, musicians and DJs are having to bail out of Soundcloud because algorithms are detecting note sequences in musics and mixes and identifying them as belonging to copyrighted works and deleting the uploads. No networked discovery for you. No cultural memory. No attention. Paul Mason’s post-capitalist agalmic pool of abundance is being drained even as he writes about it.
Developing. (I don’t know why I always say this. You all know these are my half-baked morning thoughts.)