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Informational Abundance

  • Abundance of information results in reduction of attention

As Warzel and Goldhaber acknowledged, the phrase “attention economy” dates back to an even earlier age. As Citton noted, Herbert Simon is widely regarded as “the father of the attention economy. At a conference in 1969, Simon observed that ‘the wealth of information means a dearth of something else—a scarcity of whatever it is that information consumes. What information consumes is rather obvious: it consumes the attention of its recipients.’” (Incidentally, this is an important principle, which seems deceptively obvious but the implications of which are not always taken into account. Shifts from scarcity to abundance radically alter whatever natural or social landscape we happen to be considering. For example, many of the debates about journalism often fail to reckon with the basic fact of information superabundance.)
The Pathologies of the Attention Economy