Wednesday, October 3, 2007

The Attraction Economy revs up

The Attraction Economy is really starting to take off, accelerated by development online. As people flex their new media muscle, more and more material made by them for their friends, their families and for anyone who just stops by, is becoming available. This cacophony of new and unexpected voices has elicited the squeals of academics and old world commentators ranting against what they label amateurism, shoddiness, tastelessness and stupidity. Well suck it up guys (and most of them are male!), because this rambunctious child of the Attraction Economy is not going to grow up any time soon. Besides, I always thought that maturity was over-rated. The principle is simple and unchanging. Content rules, and the people who can create the best content (that is content that attracts other people) will win. People like blogs because they are fast, informal, responsive, opinionated and, whatever the detractors say, often written by extremely knowledgeable people (OK, I guess I would say that, but you know what I mean). If the uncoordinated energy of the Web results in the death of professional reporting and journalism as we know it, then professional reporting can’t have been very good in the first place. It’s the same with YouTube. Much of the sisomo there shows super smart people working at their peak. If there also seems to be a lot of trash, try reading every page of your morning newspaper sometime or surfing right through every cable channel!

As we say in Lancaster, ‘the proof of the pudding is in the eating’, and in this case the proof is in the numbers. Having said that, I had a great black pudding and haggis breakfast (yes, that's right - breakfast, you faint-hearts) at the Caledonia in Edinburgh the other week. As far as attraction is concerned, the Online Publishers Association has nailed the shift we have been waiting for. Today people are spending almost half of their time online looking at content whereas just four years ago communications took up most of the their time. We’re talking a 37 percent increase in content time. Will this increase bring down the movie industry, as some suggest? Not if the movie industry makes great films that attract audiences, and certainly not if the movie industry starts taking the Web more seriously. I think we can do better now than just putting up all the trailers. People always see innovations like YouTube, Facebook and Second Life as the end of the world as we know it. What they really represent is the beginning of an and/and world where we the people get the best of everything. Nothing wrong with that.