attention tools one year on

It’s more than a year since I gave a talk on Attention based management systems and how I envisaged they would become key to managing all the data that is thrown at us everyday. If anything attention as a buzzword has decreased in the past 12 months, whilst the amount of data has increased massively thanks in no small part to Twitter and the Facebook newsfeed.

It would be interesting to see whether a prolific rss reader like Scoble saw a decrease in the number of posts he read compared to last year. Back in September, the BBC reported that the time required to use Facebook has come about at the expense of worker productivity.

So why are attention tools not getting attention? (sorry!) It is actually rather simple. It’s built into everything we use already.

The very Facebook newsfeed that has increased the amount of data we see, is customisable to show what we want to see. Facebook rolled out the ability to give feedback on what you do and do not want to see (I trust it will be used eventually as it doesnt seem to be yet!). It is early days but this very newsfeed allows you to keep in touch with more people using less time.

The major reason more people have been using Google Reader is the flexibility it gives you to read blog posts efficiently. I definitely read more posts now then I used to with Bloglines a year ago. is another RSS reader that attempts to place content most relevant to you in front of you.

Even the workhorse of the office worker, Microsoft Outlook 2007 has taken a huge step with its task features. It now places tasks both in a new right hand panel so you can see it immediately as well as the relevant tasks in your calendar. I used tasks sporadically before but could not do without it now.

As for the applications I looked at a year ago, Touchstone (now Particls) and Attensa still exist and I’ll take a closer look at both in later posts.

Oh and one last thing – just like in marketing, attention is all about relevance.