Felix Stalder on Fri, 27 Aug 1999 18:02:36 +0200 (CEST)

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Re: <nettime> Fragments of Network Criticism--Communities ofcontent

Craig Brozefsky <craig@red-bean.com> wrote:

>How does the user become "really powerful" by having their attention
>translated into something else?  What do you propose their attention
>be translated into?  Who does the translating?  I could see how
>someone else, other than the advertisers, could become powerful by
>translating the attention of users into other things, such as
>political power, social power, or perhaps consumer power.  But I can't
>see how the *user* becomes "really powerful" thru this.

Who does the translation? This is exactely the question. Right now,
advertisers are doing it and for their kind of translation a mass audience
is necessary. But what other ways are possible. Linux points to one which
goes like this: I value what you do so much that I invest my time in making
it better. Attention is translated into participation.

Attention, in a way, is semi-active. I watch (active) but you do not really
do something with what you see (passive). The advertising model stresses
the passive part of  attention (letting something sink in), the open source
model enhances the active aspect of attention (finding a bug).

What other translation models are there?  I'm sure there are many, such as
barter, labour exchange, gifts, status, access, security etc. The most
dominant translation mechanism is money. A lot of things can be translated
into money and money can be translated into a lot of things. In a way,
money exchange is also semi active. Yes, you give something (active) but it
requires not much (passive), particualry at the low end of the scale. It's
not really a major commitment to hand over 20 cents.

Money per se is nothing bad, and if there is a way to make it flow more
according to our attention, that is to what we really spend our time with,
rather than channeling it into a few preestablished directions, this could
allow more of us to spent our time with that we really like, as long was we
find other who also like is as much as we do.  Right now, lots of that is
done "after work" relegating it to a "hobby" elevating a boring job to a

>Now, wether or not these count as "true communities of content" I
>cannot say, since it seems that phrase has no real meaning on it's

Here is a also where community of content comes in.  Building up
communities around the exchange of content important enough that enough
members devote enough time to developing this content that it becomes
valuable for others. Again, there are many ways in which this value can be
expressed, money exchange is just one of them, and finding ways as many
ways to create and circulate this value is one way to overcome the
increasingly boring commodification/standardization of the Net. Not by
returning to some academic ideal (although being in academia I like it) but
in creating different kinds of exchanges that are not limited by the
standard commodity form.

  Les faits sont faits.

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