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.


Susan Plunkett said...

I value enquiring minds. Not minds just out to prove 'wrong' no matter what and not minds that can't register held bias. However enquiring minds are good.

I notice my impatience with technology. I long for faster, quicker and differently responsive systems. I also notice that sometimes this relative impatience can affect the way I read or react to information that requires more than a scan and so on. I'm evolving with production and my mind gear is cogging differently as times.

Many people with a research/enquiring background will note these behavioural shifts and will provide social commentary on the same. Many people will lament, not so much the broader provision of information, but the trade-offs these bring. I want to hear the critique.

On one hand we seem to have marketers and agency people telling us (public) one thematic re attraction economy and ever changing technology and *some* academics and others telling or exploring a different thematic.

One side may be too conservative and fearful..the other may appear to be uncaring about social impact issues (as long as the buck is rolling in). Sorry, but let's be honest about the potential isms of both sides.

Personally I love YT and what it offers but I cannot but help be critical - and interested - in other elements of it. There's nothing wrong with that is there? We're not promoting a mindless set of automatons as consumers within the frame of arguing greater independence are we?

The 37% figure quoted in today's piece appears incorrect in the context as presented or am I reading it wrongly?

I totally agree by the way that if certain media are no longer cutting it attraction wise then that is a major heads up issue, but these issues are not JUST the purview of the marketing companies and agencies.

I've said it before and I'll say it again - academics and agencies need to hear each other because sometimes I read and think "not getting it yet despite lots of activity" is the state of play.

Oh..barf to haggis :) (Sorry Gammy)

George Karahalios said...

''black pudding and haggis breakfast'' Super! dear Kevin :)

Cagan Yuksel said...

Content rules and we will win!
As a designer never left the right side of my brain and believed in education vs compatibility. People like us invested on their lives, desired to become the best designers, content creators etc. should always keep their dream alive and not give up their passion to achieve the best possible result. As we all know and realize it is inevitable to mold our talent and traditional knowledge into new emerging hyper distributable media services and products such as web, mobile, virtual. Yet to do this, I never lost my faith in my traditional left brain, right brain training once I had from my university. It is becoming more and more fun to sit back and watch how clients falls into the failures by choosing the cheapest way. Technological revolution is available for all compatible and semi-educated individuals to push "dirty tasteless content" using any easy access hyper- creation/distribution method.
Client point of view; I agree to the seductive power of being able to save more than 1/2 of the estimated budget for any job by choosing above so called content creators, the "cheap and quick" way to market. However god bless subconscious love of "attraction to beauty" since Aphrodite which I believe still exists deep down in human nature. All who are in dark now will turn to feed of our light like beautiful little sunflowers.

J said...

I think concerns about the 'death' of traditional media have been a bit hysterical, and as you say, if a teenager writing a blog / posting a video in their bedroom can cause the "death" of traditional media content, then really we have to question how good that 'traditional' content was anyway!

However, I love the idea of democratisation of thought, so its great to be able to read up on the subject of your choice from the unconventional to the downright bizarre viewpoints of all the bloggers and youtubers out there.

Brands that are terrified of having honest interaction and feedback with 'real' people on social sites are ironically probably brands people don't want to interact with anyway.

People will always go to quality content providers like the BBC anyway when they need 'real' and assured info, so for those content producers that do it 'right', I dont think they have anything to worry about.

It's more about people wanting to challenge, interact and debate with what is presented to them, rather than 'replace' it, in my opinion.

J, Liverpool.

Frenzy said...

I agree. Competition breeds productivity and quality.