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February 2010

Applying the One Percent Doctrine to Climate Change

Onepercentdoctrine_cover I remember hearing an NPR Fresh Air interview with Ron Suskind, author of The One Percent Doctrine: Deep Inside America's Pursuit of It's Enemies Since 9/11, shortly after the book came out in 2006, in which he explained that the title came from a statement made by [then] Vice President Dick Cheney about the Bush Administration's pre-emptive policy for "low-probability, high-impact events":

If there's a 1% chance that Pakistani scientists are helping al-Qaeda build or develop a nuclear weapon, we have to treat it as a certainty in terms of our response. It's not about our analysis ... It's about our response.

[Excerpted from an interview with Suskind in Time, The Untold Story of al-Qaeda's Plot to Attack the Subway]

Next-hundred-million-joel-kotkin Last week, I was listening to an interview on KUOW's The Conversation with Joel Kotkin, author of The Next 100 Million: America in 2050. In contrast - if not contradiction - to the negative impacts of continued population growth articulated by many people and organizations, Kotkin predicts that the anticipated population increase of the next 100 million people in the United States will be a net gain, adding to our diversity, competitiveness and overall economic strength. When host Ross Reynolds asked him about the impact of population growth on climate change, Kotkin revealed that he is a climate change skeptic (along with 40% of the American public), and expressed doubt about the likelihood that humans, especially those in high resource consumption countries like the United States, have a significant impact on climate change.

ThereYouGoAgain During part two of the interview, one caller asked about Kotkin's views on adopting a population-control policy, noting the growth in energy use per capita. Kotkin - reciting a refrain of "I've seen this movie before" [reminiscent of Ronald Reagan's famous catchphrase, "there you go again", in his cheerfully derisive dismissal of Jimmy Carter's compelling articulation of a national health plan during the 1980 U.S. Presidential debate] - talked about earlier reports of impending crises - or what he calls variations of "an environmental apocalypse" -  that did not come to pass, and then deftly switched the metric by stating that energy use per GDP was declining. Anyone who has read David Korten's book, Agenda for a New Economy, or Doug Rushkoff's book, Life, Incorporated, may be a GDP-skeptic, and question whether GDP is an appropriate metric for assessing the health of the economy ... much less the environment.

Another caller, who identified himself as Billy, from Seattle's Ravenna neighborhood, posed a particularly penetrating and provocative question (the one that sparked this post):

If the scientists are wrong and we act on their prescriptions, then we'll spend a lot of money on green technology, and maybe we'll blight a lot of landscapes with windmills. But really, in the worst case, we're talking about wasting a lot of money.

But if he [Kotkin] is wrong, and we act on his prescriptions, then we are facing - potentially - a disaster. It's not like climate change in the past that happened gradually. We're talking about very quick and rapid changes.

So, to me, if there's a 10% - even a 5% - chance that the scientists are right, dealing with that [climate change], as difficult as it is, really seems like the prudent thing to do.

Kotkin replied that he supports making some changes, but that they should be less drastic and be primarily motivated by clear and present dangers, such as reducing dirty air or enhancing our national security by reducing dependence on foreign oil. This is ironic on at least two levels. From what I understand, Kotkin considers himself a futurist (and indeed, the title of his book is future-oriented), so it's interesting that he is promoting a more "presentist" perspective. Secondly, his emphasis on national security brings to mind Cheney's earlier dictum about the unacceptability of even the slightest risk of another devastating terrorist attack.

I wonder how many climate change skeptics accept - or champion - the One Percent Doctrine with respect to the risk of terrorism ... and what percentage of risk of environmental apocalypse they would find acceptable. Kotkin argues that earlier religious fundamentalists' warnings of an apocalypse have been largely supplanted by "hysterical" warnings of environmental apocalypse, but I do wonder whether religious fundamentalists - Christian and Muslim - may still be more drawn to visions of a more "traditional" version of apocalypse these days.

Continuing with the theme of fundamentalism, but returning to the terrorism domain, in a recent PBS Newshour segment on Biden and Cheney Clash Over Terror Trial Policy, CSIS Senior Adviser Juan Carlos Zarate, who served the Bush administration as deputy assistant to the president and deputy national security adviser for combating terrorism from 2005 to 2009, argued that we are seeing a "fundamental continuity in our counterterrorism policies". Georgetown University Law Professor David Cole countered that we are seeing a continuity in the war(s), but significant shifts in policy, especially with respect to policy decisions to operate "within the frame of the rule of law".

I'm not sure what the Obama administration's position is on the One Percent Doctrine with respect to terrorism, and I'm increasingly unsure about what their position is with respect to the environment. The announcement last week of Obama's upport for nuclear power, coupled with proposals to expand clean energy sources and assign a cost to the polluting emissions of fossil fuels, represents the latest attempt to find common ground and pursue a middle way. However, I wonder if greater progress can be made by adopting what some may consider a more extremist position, and apply the One Percent Doctrine to the risks of climate change.


Clinical Wisdom: Knowledge, Experience, Compassion, Creativity and Honesty

Ssimon NPR's Scott Simon (@nprscottsimon), host of Weekend Edition Saturday, is one of my favorite mainstream media players ... and with over 1.3 million Twitter followers, I know I am not alone. Simon Says, his weekly essays, are among the most insightful and provocative segments I hear on the radio.

In this week's essay, The Kindness of Cleveland, Scott expresses gratitude for the care and camaraderie he enjoyed in and around the Cleveland Clinic. He specifically highlights the care he received from Dr. Edward Benzel, the neurosurgeon who performed his cervical spine surgery ... and who gave him an inspiring paper to read afterward. The paper

EdwardBenzel I don't know whether Dr. Benzel listens to NPR's Weekend Edition Saturday, so I don't know this is a case of mutual inspiration, but it is certainly a case of the transitive property of inspiration: Benzel inspired Simon who inspired me to write about Benzel's insights into clinical wisdom ... and perhaps this post will serve to inspire others.

Actually, the chain of inspiration goes back much further than Dr. Benzel, as he invokes the wisdom of Albert Einstein, Louis Pasteur, Friedrich Nietzsche, Jim Collins, Molière, Voltaire and Leviticus, to name a few of the inspirational forbears he quotes in his article.

The article, Defining Collective Experience: When Does Wisdom Take Precedence?, published in Volume 56 of Clinical Neurosurgery, by the College of Neurological Surgeons, defines clinical wisdom as the application of knowledge, experience and the Golden Rule. In the course of arriving at this definition, Benzel reveals a number of insights into clinical practice and theory that I believe extend well beyond the walls of any clinic ... and may even transform one of the definitions of the word clinical - "analytical or coolly dispassionate".

Benzel-WisdomIntelligenceHonesty He begins by tracing the evolution of our understanding of wisdom, from logical empiricism - in which wisdom is seen as a manifestation of knowledge, or assimilation of facts - to a more recent articulation by educational theorist David Kolb, a prominent proponent of experiential learning, that wisdom involves both knowledge and experience. However, Benzel argues that knowledge + experience = intelligence, and that wisdom involves more than intelligence ... and that intelligence can exist independently of wisdom. He uses the Chinese metaphor of yin and yang to explain that a wolf can be very wise in the effective application of its limited knowledge or intelligence, while a surgeon can be very intelligent and yet not very wise. He invokes the wisdom of the father of modern medicine, the late Canadian physician Sir William Osler, and his insights into the central role of honesty with self: distinguishing between clear cases, doubtful cases and mistakes, and emphasizing the importance of learning from the doubtful cases and mistakes ... which is only possible when one embraces radical self-honesty. "No self deception. No shrinking from the truth."

Benzel presents a definition offered by David Sackett (another Canadian physician) for evidence-based medicine: "the conscientious, explicit and judicious use of the current best evidence in making decisions about the care of individual patients". He goes on to list all the reasons why the medical literature may be a "poor source" of best evidence or valid information: methodological flaws, conflicts of interest and various biases including investigator bias, patient selection bias, winner-loser bias, intellectual bias and financial bias.

One poignant illustration of biases, conflicts of interest and implicit hypocrisy was revealed through the use of an audience response system at a national medical meeting four years ago. A surgeon presented a clinical case to a group of other surgeons, 80% of whom voted to recommend a particular surgical procedure for the patient in the case. When asked a short time later how many would undergo the operation themselves, 80% said no.

These biases and conflicts of interest take a toll not only on our individual and collective health, but with the steadily increasing financial costs of health care, they take a toll on our individual and collective wealth. Benzel makes two recommendations for how to implement his patient-centric ideology in the clinical and surgical arenas:

  • Act (accordingly) as if you or yours are the patient
  • Act (accordingly) as if you are paying for the treatment you recommend

Essentially, Benzel is making a case for the application of the Golden Rule, and the adoption of a core ideology of patient-centric medicine ... or perhaps more appropriately, a patient-centric approach to health, which may or may not involve medicine. Two William Osler quotes that were not included in Benzel's paper may serve to further highlight this theme:

The good physician treats the disease; the great physician treats the patient who has the disease.

The first duties of the physician is to educate the masses not to take medicine. 

Following Scott Simon, I wish to express my gratitude to Dr. Benzel for educating the masses about patient-centric health care, and for sharing his understanding of clinical wisdom with great compassion, creativity and honesty.


Notes from @BigBlog meetup at Soulfood in Redmond

I enjoyed attending my first SeattlePI.com BigBlog meetup last night at Soulfood Books, Music and Organic Coffee House in Redmond. Monica Guzman (@moniguzman) organized the event, and Nick Eaton (@njeaton), who writes the SeattlePI.com Microsoft blog, was the special guest. According to a tweet posted by Monica at the outset, other bloggers / tweeters / people there include @jimgaynor @gumption @stephaniemcc @ryanbartholomew @luizmarq and @jasonp107; @howardcwu arrived later.

SeattlePI BigBlog meetup @ SoulFood

Since Nick, the SeattlePI.com Microsoft reporter, was the special guest, we could hardly help but discuss the recent Op-Ed piece by former Microsoft VP Dick Brass on Microsoft's Creative Destruction. The piece kicked off a firestorm of conversation and controversy, online and offline. Nick posted an article about Microsoft has 'dysfunctional corporate culture', ex-exec says that prompted considerable commentary from readers (although Nick says he generally has to wear a virtual flak jacket for every article he posts).

In searching for Nick's article on SeattlePI.com, I discovered an earlier article syndicated from the NYTimes, by John Markoff in November 2000, about Brass in the Middle of Microsoft's Cultural Shift , which notes Brass' former job as New York Daily reporter, his personal passion and sense of mission around eBooks and tablet computers, and a reference to an earlier [stage of] reinvention:

The tablet computer is one of the best examples of Microsoft's multibillion dollar effort to reinvent itself for the presumed post-PC era.

And, for further multidimensional irony, given that Brass chose the NYTimes in which to publish his recent Op-Ed piece ... and the fact the earlier article appeared in the SeattlePI, which then had a printed counterpart:

Among other impacts, he predicts that The New York Times will publish its last version on paper in 2018.

[Note to self: revisit this article in 8 years.]

I suspect other Microsoft-related topics were discussed at the other end of the table, but we spent most of the time at our end talking about other things. Among other interesting things shared by other participants at the meeting:

Finally, a few people strongly recommended the OmniFocus Mac application for Getting Things Done ... which reminded me of a recent dinner meeting / presentation / conversation with David Allen - after which I wrote a blog post about motivations, conversations and book-centered sociality  ... after which [I thought] I was sufficiently motivated to re-read GTD and re-apply the techniques. In a conversation a few days later, another friend, Jason Simon, had told me "there's an app for that" and strongly recommended OmniFocus ... but it often takes N > 2 recommendations for me to overcome inertia ... especially when the recommendation is for a tool designed to help overcome inertia.

In any case, I've taken the first step, and ordered a new copy of the book - I gave away my first copy of GTD several years ago to my friend, Elizabeth Churchill (who clearly gets a lot of things done) - and if this trial is more successful, I may blog more about Getting Things Done ... if I'm correctly remembering GTD terminology, "there's a folder for that".


Power Laws and Pyramids: Participation, Gratification, and Distraction in Social Media

I've been thinking and reading a lot lately about the different ways we can participate in social media, how others' responses to the social media content we produce can promote a sense of gratification, and how this - and any - gratification can also lead to distraction.

Power Law of Participation One of my earliest and most memorable encounters with conceptualizing the distribution of participation was an insightful blog post by Ross Mayfield, CEO of SocialText, in 2006 on the Power Law of Participation. Ross differentiated among several types of activities through which people can engage with social media: read, favorite, tag, comment, subscribe, share, network, write, refactor, collaborate, moderate and lead. He also composed a compelling graphic illustrating of how increasing levels of effort - or increasing ease of use through appropriate tools - can promote higher levels of engagement and transform participation from collective intelligence to collaborative intelligence. [Ross has since updated this graphic, in 2007 and 2009, but I still like the original the best.]

SocialTechnographicsMore recently, as I noted in a blog post on conversations and conversationalists in social media, Josh Bernoff and his colleagues at Forrester Research, offered a new visualization metaphor (a sociotechnographics ladder), an alliteratively appealing list of social media participation categories (creators, conversationalists, critics, collectors, joiners, spectators and inactives) and some specific estimates on the proportion of U.S. online adults who engage in these classes of activities. The Forrester data suggest that there may be a rising tide of participation, possibly propelled by the proliferation and pervasive use of efficient and reliable tools that ease the transition toward higher levels of participation, i.e., similar levels of effort can now yield higher levels of engagement.

However, as danah boyd has pointed out, there is value conferred through participating despite inefficiency and unreliability, - the more effort I have to expend to engage with you, the more important that engagement is to me ... and the more important it may be to you. As I recently ranted noted, the extreme ease of use provided by some online tools and activities can lead to a commoditization and devaluation of social media participation, explaining - and perhaps undermining - some of the trends being tracked by others.

Participation Inequality 90 9 1 A few months ago, Dan McComb pointed me to a series of three insightful articles by Christopher Allen on "Community by the Numbers". The third article of the series, on Power Laws, explores participation inequality and the tendency for hierarchies to form as online communities to grow, wherein working groups of intermittent participants occupy a middle layer between leaders and readers. He notes that a variation of the Pareto Principle (the "80/20 rule") often holds - "90% of an online community tends to be lurkers, 9% tends to be intermittent participants, and 1% tends to be active participants."  As a community attracts more readers, more people tend to rise up to participate more actively (e.g., by writing or leading) ... and as more people participate more actively, more readers tend to be attracted. However, after communities grow beyond a certain size, the ratio of readers to leaders tends to increase.

Hierarchy_distractions_960 A recent visualization of The Hierarchy of Digital Distractions compellingly - and rather humorously - conveys how various channels and modes of participation may be perceived and prioritized by users in very large communities of social media users. The pyramid metaphor, surely modeled after Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs, differentiates among the relative levels of distraction generated by the receipt of various types of messages. The low end of the pyramid (labeled automatic / reflexive) includes LinkedIn updates, work-related email and anything on MySpace. The middle level (appreciation / being wanted) includes landline phone calls, notifications of new Twitter followers and email linking to videos of frolicking kittens. The higher levels  (deep contact / deep appreciation / mystery) include mobile phone calls, retweets by the Twitterati and a new Facebook friend request from a hot stranger.

One of the interesting elements reflected in the choice of labeled data points is the differentiation of distraction levels between a new Twitter follower vs. a retweet vs. a retweet by the Twitterati, i.e., someone with many followers ... who is thereby better able to effectively co-promote and recursively attract attention to you ... er, or is it co-promotion of and attention to your tweet? Of course, the distinction is moot if you are what you tweet.

300px-The_looking_glass_self Although this model is framed in terms of distraction, I believe that levels of distraction are highly correlated with - and often caused by - the relative levels of gratification we may feel when we receive messages indicating various levels of attention ... from different types of attendees. Gratification derived via others can be considerably more powerful than self-gratification, which is why a retweet by someone else - especially a member of the Twitterati - is often more satisfying than posting self-referential tweets ... or, as Mor Naaman and his colleagues might label this, based on their CSCW 2010 paper, meforming (sharing information about oneself, e.g., "tired and upset") ... and writing this leads me to wonder how much meforming contributes to the actual construction of self ... especially within the context of Charles Cooley's theory of a looking-glass self.

Another paper presented at CSCW 2010 this week reminds us that users at the left end of the power law of participation or the lower rungs of the sociotechnographics ladder are contributing to communities, but often in less ostensible ways. In Readers are not Free-Riders: Reading as a Form of Participation on Wikipedia, Judd Antin and Coye Cheshire, highlight the valuable contributions of readers of Wikipedia, which I think applies to other forms of social media. The authors argue that readers are engaging in a form of legitimate peripheral participation by increasing the size of the audience, which, in turn, motivates others to engage in more active forms of participation. Reading may also act as a gateway drug activity, as most of the people who edit articles start out as readers ... and hopefully continue to read what others write.

Finally, it's probably worth noting that people who participate in social media [only] through reading are more likely to limit their engagement or indulgence in what Seth Godin calls modern procrastination.  They may also spend more time at the very bottom level of The Hierarchy of Distraction, i.e., they may get more "actual work" done than those who "progress" to higher levels of distraction.


Co-promotion Reconsidered: The Recursive Attraction of Attention

Amybeth Hale, a Talent Attraction Manager with AT&T’s Interactive Staffing team, wrote a great primer on 4 Essential Traits for Social Media Success in your Career, which was recently posted on Mashable. The four traits are:

  1. Develop authentic relationships
  2. Be a digital trendsetter
  3. Take risks
  4. Give back (and/or pay it forward)

I think there is one important trait missing:

  1. Reference other people who attract social media attention

Although it might qualify as a corollary to #4 (Give Back), I think it's important enough to give it separate billing, as I've noticed many people who appear to be successful at attracting attention in the social media world, especially Twitter, exhibit this trait. When that attention is amplified through retweeting by those whose attention was initially attracted, it represents a recursive attraction of attention. And few practices are more effective at attracting attention than referencing someone in a blog post or tweet (not that this is necessarily the primary goal in referencing someone, but I suspect it is rarely an unwanted side effect).

Amybeth herself demonstrated the value of this essential trait in her post, referencing 16 people, each of whom has more than 1,000 followers on Twitter (and some of whom have tens or even hundreds of thousands of followers), and 8 of whom tweeted or retweeted the post.

Name Twitter ID Following Followers Listed Tweets Retweeted?
Amybeth Hale @ResearchGoddess 1,163 4,808 198 34,873 yes
Elisa Camahort @ElisaC 780
4,430 145 20,945 no
Keith Burtis @KeithBurtis 8,752 10,520 365 75,767 yes
Chris Brogan @ChrisBrogan 106,679 121,009 8,379 181,423 no
Amanda Mooney @AmandaMooney 997 4,048 135 21,022 yes
Dan Honigman @DanielHonigman 3,949 6,048 860 22,106 no
Jennifer Leggio @mediaphyter 906 15,352 1,139 87,870 yes
Kaitlyn Wilkins @CatchUpLady 894 1,693 55 3,033 no
Dave Knox @DaveKnox 1,333 5,631 456 2,221 no
Kipp Bodnar @kbodnar32 2,684 3,904 282 26,995 yes
Venessa Miemis @VenessaMiemis 901 2,317 363 2,166 yes
Jessica Randazza @JessicaRandazza 1,976 3,258 187 13,932 yes
Laura Roeder @lkr 460 7,616 350 21,864 no
Kneale Mann @KnealeMann 11,254 12,973 304 34,218 yes
Ken Burbary @KenBurbary 6,950 7,211 805 32,143 no
Len Kendall @LenKendall 2,544 5,630 490 54,775 no
Sarah Evans @PRsarahevans 10,157 38,325 2,824 47,747 yes

The combined Twitter followership of the 16 people is nearly 250,000 (though I'm sure there is considerable overlap in their sets of followers); while only 8 of them tweeted or retweeted the post, that represents a potential amplification of attention beyond Amybeth's followers of up to 90,000 followers (modulo the aforementioned overlap). Now, with @Mashable's followership of 1,956,431, I'm not sure how many additional users lie in the set difference between Mashable followers and the combined followers of all those referenced in the article, but I still believe the social media value of the trait holds, as not everyone posts articles on Mashable.

Four years ago, I wrote about Co-Promotional Considerations: Customerizing and The Brand "Us", in which I described the practices of Jones Soda and Luna Bars, which respectively incorporate photos or quotes from their customers on their labels, representing what I called a customerization of their [co-]promotional campaigns:

I had earlier speculated on the evolving nature of promotional considerations as new social marketing channels arise, noting possible conflicts of interest that may diminish the potential impact of some of these channels (e.g., how much can we trust reviews by people who may derive direct financial benefit from the products or services they are reviewing).  What I particularly like about the Jones and Luna customerization techniques is that they are really co-promotional: customers whose visual or verbal content is co-opted for use on labels can promote themselves (and/or their loved ones) along with the product(s) they are telling people about.  Neither Jones nor Luna offers any financial incentive to people whose content is chosen for co-promotion on their labels; the wealth they are sharing is attentional rather than financial.

Jonessodacreamsoda

Lunabar

Lunadedication

As I noted in that earlier post, I think the practice of co-promotion can be a positive thing, although that is not always the case. For example, in the academic world, researchers often employ defensive citation in conference and journal papers - citing work by peers who may be reviewing their submissions, partly or even primarily for the purpose of assuring that those peers do not feel slighted by the omission of what the reviewers may consider to be relevant work to the submission. A related practice, gratuitous citation, is sometimes employed to flatter or compliment other researchers, especially prominent or senior researchers, with an aim to curry favor with the powers that be.

I don't mean to suggest that most - or even many - citations (or authors) are defensive or gratuitous, but it is a fact of life (or work) in many domains that one must be careful to please - or avoid angering - the people in positions to potentially promote you, and so I don't think anyone would dispute that these considerations factor into some submissions [and I never thought about the double entendre of that word in this context]. And since the most prominent and senior researchers tend to be the ones who sit on program committees and editorial review boards, there is an unavoidable Matthew effect, wherein the rich get richer ... or more precisely, those with many citations (and hence prominence) are cited more often. 

In my last post, I expressed some concerns about the commoditization of Twitter followers [about which I was tempted to post the tweet "How to Write a Blog Post that Won't Get Tweeted"]. One of the things I mentioned was the growing plethora of various tools and techniques attempt to measure Twitter influence. The quest for [evidence of] attention and impact is not restricted to social media (although, in a way, I supppose that academic publications could be considered a special case of social media). For example, Harzing's "Publish or Perish" tool is designed to measure academic influence:

Are you applying for tenure, promotion or a new job? Do you want to include evidence of the impact of your research? Is your work cited in journals which are not ISI listed? Then you might want to try Publish or Perish, designed to help individual academics to present their case for research impact to its best advantage.

Returning to the recursive attraction of attention in social media, I want to be clear that I do not mean to suggest that Amybeth's blog post is either defensive or promiscuous. In fact, I chose it primarily because I think it is a well-written article that provides an engaging overview with helpful examples of best practices ... and given that its aim is to highlight those practices, I thought it may be useful to use it as another helpful example of an important practice in the successful use of social media ... especially if one of the metrics of success is attention.

DarkTwitterBird-reversed One of my posts that has attracted the most attention is on the dark side of digital backchannels in shared physical spaces back in early December. As in Amybeth's post, I also referenced a number of people prominent in the social media world, e.g., danah boyd (@zephoria, with 22,669 followers), Brady Forest (@brady, with 6,169 followers), Scott Berkun (@berkun, with 3,267 followers) and Jeremiah Owyang (@jowyang, with 59,141 followers). I know that danah and Scott retweeted my post, but don't know if Brady, Jeremiah or anyone else I referenced did. I would have used that post as the strawman here, but finding tweets that old would be challenging; using Amybeth's post was far more convenient, and - given its focus on social media best practices (vs. some of the worst practices I was highlighting) - more relevant.

I keep grappling with the issue of appropriate attraction of attention. I believe that some level of attention is necessary to survive - if we don't attract the attention (and affection) of our parents or other caretakers as infants, we will die. In my blog post on coffee, community and health, I wrote about some of the health benefits we derive later in life from the attention of consequential strangers and acquaintances, such as we might enjoy at coffeehouses and other third places. But as Don Miguel Ruiz warns in the Introduction to The Four Agreements:

With that fear of being punished and that fear of not getting the reward [of attention from our parents, teachers, siblings and friends], we start pretending to be what we are not, just to please others, just be good enough for someone else.

Again, I'm not suggesting that anyone I've mentioned here is pretending to be what they are not, but I do want to highlight the risk of becoming addicted to attention.

I'll conclude with another risk regarding attention and social media (as well as the fragmentation resulting from multi-tasking), which was articulated in an interview with Cliff Nass, part of which was broadcast on PBS Frontline's Digital Nation earlier this week:

One of the biggest points here I think is, when I grew up, the greatest gift you could give someone was attention, and the best way to insult someone was to ignore them. ... The greatest gift was attention. Well, if we're in a society where the notion of attention as important is breaking apart, what now is the relationship glue between us? Because it's always been attention.

I've already written elsewhere about my reflections on issues of ambivalence and attention raised in Digital Nation, in response to an insightful critique by Cathy Davidson on The Digital Nation Writes Back, so I'll do my best to approximate one of the social media best practices that I rarely use - keep it simple, keep it short - and end this here.