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It is undoubtedly true that media brings us together, it sets the agenda and the topics we discuss, it controls in every dimension the way we publish and interact with humans and non-humans. Distribution refers to any type of sharing, arranging, organising, disseminating and so on. Similarly, aggregation can refer to any method that involves bringing together distributed material. In the New Economy, money and every other valuable have been undermined through the importance of information. Distribution of this information, directs information into different channels and vast places particularly for the reasons of a person’s specific desire or intent. It is the media and the need to express oneself that continually the construction and processes of distribution and aggregation, continuously drawing new relationships in ways that have never occurred in history.

Abstractions are things that bring us together. Looking at the word abstract, the average person would think of something weird, something they possible cannot define. Abstractions are ideas, thoughts, and creations; it “may be discovered or produced, may be material or immaterial” (McKenzie 2004). McKenzie discusses that to abstract is to construct a plane upon which otherwise different and unrelated matters may be brought into many possible relations. McKenzie also alludes that Abstractions do not explain anything, they must be explained. The author demonstrates a key functionality of distribution and aggregation and unexpectedly he recreates his own abstraction, which develops the process of distribution and aggregation.

Abstraction is any form of information portrayed in a different way, specifically resembling self-expression. To create information is also to distribute information. Different publics actively seek interaction with certain materials. An example of this is occurring right now. I am a media student, thus I am actively seeking material on media studies. It is the aggregation of this information that connects us or what McKenzie alludes to as the need for an explanation. Furthermore, every publication has a specific audience. This is untied in McKenzie’s work confronting the network of hackers and an identity that must be developed and continued for they are true creators of information.

The benefits and disadvantages of evolving processes of distribution and aggregation is a topic that has been continuously argued. The evolving process of media today has influenced aggregation and distribution in what I view as an outstanding benefit to humanity.

David Gauntlet (2010) argues inventions such as Web 2.0 are development that betters society as it lets us create and distribute our very own content. Thus in my opinion they have the ability to create their own abstractions. This process develops the interactional relationship within the social body and non-human publics. Furthermore there has been a significant shift in the media landscape. People 20 years ago would tune into the five o’clock news and all receive the same message, distributed equally among different yet united audiences. The invention of web 2.0 has allowed people to actively seek the information relevant to them, it also frequency, accessibility and mobility where people can easily connect to an archive of information. Today people Thus one can argue that new media networks are evolving to enforce a more democratic world where engagement and information govern. Furthermore, it can be argued Internet has rebalanced the power between people. New online archives enforce newer systematic ways of learning. With the occurrence of free flow information, abstractions will increase, as we are no longer bounded by the singular and hierarchical messages of traditional media platforms.

Although I personally agree with David Gauntlet and his opinion there are also the consequences of a world where information networks govern interaction (Guilaud 2010).  Attention is limited. The aggregation of information will not always occur. Attention is the underlying factor, simply because of its vast limitation.. A persona cannot expect a billion views on a Youtube video.  What I like to call the War of Attention will be a continuing conflict in the future where not just traditional and modern media platforms will compete with each other for attention but where content will compete with its competitors. Thus attention will continue to be scarce however, will continue to develop as a major power in the flow of the world. New media networks appear to many to be leading us into a period where democracy is reinforced by web 2.0 however, Danah Boyd deems “switching from an economy of distribution to one of attention is disruptive, but that does not inherently mean it is democratizing as one so often hears” (Guillaud Hubert).

Gauntlett, David (2010), Making is Connecting, <http://www.makingisconnecting.org/&gt;.

Guillaud, Hubert (2010) (on Danah Boyd) ‘What is implied by living in a world of flow?’, Truthout, January 6, <http://www.truthout.org/what-implied-living-a-world-flow56203>

Wark, McKenzie 2004. ‘Abstraction’ in A Hacker Manifesto, Cambridge, MA; Harvard University Press: Paragraphs 001-023

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Attention Shoppers in the New Economy

Commons is the way of the future. Information has continually served as important to all aspects of life. In the world today, focusing on developed nations, information has become vital product, highly valuable to those who can utilise information. Commons have been formed as an assemblage, constructing themselves of people distributing and receiving resources while working towards a shared goal (Meretz 2010).

Commons are resources that include natural resources, cultural resources and information that is continually accessible to all participants of society. It has been argued that information and knowledge are consistently a part of the commons. The argument behind this is that knowledge and information should be shared and free primarily because unlike material data information can be transmitted to different communication channels where it is distributed and aggregated. Today Youtube and Wikipedia are examples of commons, designed to be free and distributed to those who seek information. The purpose of this is to improve the level of knowledge in society, in what could be the standardization of the 21t century through Web 2.0

If you have ever seen the movie “The Social Networka scene will come to fruition where a group of Facebook administrators are working within a house in California, playing, drinking and doing a whole bunch of stupid things. Successful corporations around the world like Google and Facebook are symbolised by their non-hierarchical structure, allowing workers and employees a freedom unparalleled to traditional media. This demonstrates the significance of the commons’ concepts and the imbeeded sense of freedom within the idea of the commons.

The commons ideals are fundamental to success in the future through targeting “attention shoppers.” “The currency of the New Economy won’t be money, but attention” (Goldhaber 1997). Goldhaber states the economies of industrialised nations have shifted dramatically where employment focuses around dealing or mangling with information in some form. He calls this the “Information economy.” Over the last several weeks, discussions have occurred between students regarding archives, assemblages and what seems to be an unlimited source of information. Economy refers to the study of the allocation and usage of scarce resources, therefore it is impossible information can be this scarce resource, it is society its self and the attention to mediums, publications and information that serves as the scarce resource. This has lead to an economical shift from what was a material based economic model to what is now know as the Information Economy.

Attention has behaviour and characteristics of its own, it is a system that is not replicated in humans acting as a connection to a global network where without attention we are zombies. Yet, attention does not occur without distraction, a method in which I view as the process, method and event where attention is shifted or manipulated towards something new. What possibly could this something new be? Well while writing this blog I visited Facebook about three times and I also shut the laptop off twice, going to lunch and classes. Attention and distraction act as a simultaneous relationship, working of one another. The system links us to the world and connects us to a network. Advertisers are aware of the economy of information. Techniques targeting human emotion control our attention and change our attitudes towards something. They continually distract me.

But has the information age and the development of what Goldhaber refers to as the ‘New Economy’ affected the process of attention and distraction and has their been social implications because of this? Simply put, the process of attention and distraction is a process which occurs in the mind, it is not a process that I believe has in its true characteristics change however the external environmental factors and features have caused new battles not just between old media and new media but between the new media and itself. Furthermore, Sigmund Freud highlights through his theory people continue to have unconscious motivations which transverse to their conscious state. This is related to how people interact with their desired mediums and influence the focus of attention as well as the distractions, which occur around this formation. However, there are many factors that influence attention and distraction. Memory is key to this theory. Memory allows us to continually be familiar with something. We as humans are constantly distracted to the things we love, distracted to play the sports we love, distracted to go on Facebook while doing work, this is the same as recognition which all act as simple yet integral parts to the theory of attention and distraction.

The ideals of the commons demonstrate their importance when regarding attention and distraction. In the above examples it is demonstrated that creating some distractions while an overhauling focus of attention on particular information provides an effective method for achievement. This is similar to the battle of infotention. “Infotention is a word….to describe the psycho-social-techno skill/tools we all need to find our way online today, a mind-machine combination of brain-powered attention skills with computer-powered information filters.” – Howard Rheingold (2009).

Corporations and companies have continually aimed at targeting the attention of publics through distraction methods towards a certain archive. Therefore the ideals of the commons are an integral part in achieving success in the future. Commons is the way of the future. In my opinion there are the same amount as distraction as there was before technology ever existed, however attention and distraction has been manipulated through the New Economy where commons have formed an assemblage, constructing themselves of people, through distraction and attention, receiving resources while working towards a shared goal.

However, underlying the New Economy is a problem pure in complexity. The development of peer-peer networks where one can distribute information has become a problem and debate source between the economy and the commons. Intellectual property and copy right laws have held the right to gain profits fro the contents they have created, furthermore with these laws being placed on content by professionals it is evident that constructors of content or publications need financial support to maintain their production and publication. With the rise of the New Economy will quality content die?

 

Michael H. Goldhaber (1997) ‘Attention Shoppers!’, Wired,http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/5.12/es_attention.html

Meretz, Stefan (2010) ‘Ten Theses about Global Commons Movement’, P2P Foundation,  http://blog.p2pfoundation.net/ten-theses-about-global-commons-movement/2011/01/05

NPR (2010) ‘The Price of Putting Your Brain on Computers’,http://www.npr.org/2010/12/29/132369113/the-price-of-having-your-brain-on-computers

Rheingold, Howard ‘Infotention Skills: From Information Overload to Knowledge Navigation’, http://www.rheingold.com/university/pages/infotention-webinar.php

Rheingold, Howard (2009) ‘Mindful Infotention: Dashboards, Radars, Filters’,SFGatehttp://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/blogs/rheingold/detail?entry_id=46677

Yoffe, Emily (2009) ‘Seeking: How the brain hard-wires us to love Google, Twitter, and texting. And why that’s dangerous’ Slate,http://www.slate.com/articles/health_and_science/science/2009/08/seeking.html