Thursday, March 27, 2008

The Attentional Economy and "Facepoints"

Castell and Jensen's article on attention ("Paying attention to attention") reminded me of a great set of novels I purchased recently for my library. Scott Westerfeld has written this engaging series about youth in a dystopian world. The 4th book in the series, Extras, takes place at a time where attention and fame are the currency. "Facepoints" are what you earn, and you get them by having a popular web presence, doing outrageous things or being seen in the popular spots. Getting attention and keeping it are the most important requirements for succeeding in this new world. You can see the seeds that have already been planted in Facebook, Youtube and countless other social networking sites. We may be seeing the advent of the "attentional economy" that Castell and Jensen speak of.

There's an excerpt on the Simon and Schuster site that gives you a feel for the book: "face rank", reputation economy, attention.

And, in a spirit of re-mediation, here's a clip of Scott talking about his novel.
(Click on the Windows Media Video link)

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