Excellent post on Kim Cameron’s Identity Weblog, which reprints an article from InfoWorld with quotes from a conference where Kim discussed/presented on software whose “behavior reflects identity”.

I have been walking the edges of this topic for a while, not really getting in there and taking a closer look thanks to clients and deadlines and the usual lifestuff. I started looking closer thanks to Doc Searls excellent posts on the subject at his blog and his IT Garage. I decided to do a deeper dig after reading his recent SuitWatch column in Linux Journal. It fits incredibly well with the idea of Attention as defined by Steve Gillmore and the Attention Trust.

Doc on identity:

The real problem is the absense of something we’ve needed all along: Independent Identity, owned by the individual, rather than granted by outside commercial and governmental bodies. With Independent Identity, sovereign individuals could selectively present credentials and do business, anywhere on the Net (or in the physical world, for that matter), without being forced to obtain “membership” or whatever. Their private information (memberships, preferences, transaction histories, attention data) would reside with the equivalent of a bank or a broker, and would be represented to others in a way that revealed only what the transaction, conversation or relationship required.

As defined by the trust, Attention is:

… the substance of focus. It registers your interests by indicating choice for certain things and choice against other things. Any time you pay attention to something (and any time you ignore something), data is created. That data has value, but only if it’s gathered, measured, and analyzed.

Attention is about my time AND focus, what and how I spend my attention on depends not on some programming wonk at a major network, but depends on my likes and dislikes. Identity is about my self, how I identify myself to the world, how I exchange my identity for access or content, or commerce and what information I allow marketers to take away and use. The only way I can exchange or monetize my attention is through some process that interacts with my identity. But my identity is not required for others to monetize my time (think CPM).

It all comes down to control. The Ad Guy in me is scared to death of that. Direct Advertising (Below the line) is based on getting the right message to the right person at the right time in the right medium. Lack of control, the user determining what information a marketer can see/kee/share with partners. scares the shit out of the ad industry the same way timeshifting (what do you mean you allow them to skip my commercials) or napster (what do you mean they can share my music) scared the big media companies.

If they control their own eyeballs, how do we make any money off of them?

Marketers and their agencies would rather not engage in the discussion at all. Trust us, they say. Give us you information and we will customize/personalize our content to what you want. Exchange your identity with our network and we will give you all kinds of stuff – as long as you dont ever leave (it is our competitve advantage after all). If you lock yourself in to our proprietary platform/software/distribution mechanisms, we will give you almost everything you think you want – except choice – choice in what we spend our attention on and the choice of what parts of our identity to share.

Kim’s post can be found here.

Find the entire article here:

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