Web 2.0 and Continuous Partial Attention

Linda Stone of Microsoft Research fame ( bio ) coined the phrase of "Continuous Partial Attention" to describe how we have been trying to cope with information overload.  Her presentation at SuperNova 2005 has significant implications on the shape of Web 2.0 and related communication models.

According to Stone, "Attention" is one immutably scarce quantity in a world of increasing abundance. As everything becomes connected, and connectivity becomes increasingly widespread, the challenge in no longer getting more information, but getting less. We need tools, systems, and practices to help us cope with information overload. Fortunately, advances in this area are coming from several directions, ranging from communications systems to search-based technologies for managing and organizing information.

How could this shape Web 2.0 communication models?

Communications overload is a problem for all of us. Work on intelligent agents, PWS, Speech and unified communications provides a strong foundation to aggregate, filter and personalize communication flows. 

As Web 2.0 communication applications emerge, I believe less should be about innovative communication modes and more should be about intelligent aggregation, filtering and personalizing the flow of calls, e-mails, IMs, voice mails and collaboration sessions.

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