Information infinity – Value and worth

The internet has inarguably made everything more available and convenient. Technological advances have led to a new model of selling and buying. Now my digital trail, shares my information &  converses with websites, databases and other digital trails so that now my computer & smartphone both know what I want to do and when I want to do it basically every hour of the day and don’t mind telling me that they know either. Smartypants.

I view this concept as one of the results of the information abundance, brought about by the ‘produsage’ culture. When I shop, I’m often offered recommendations on similar or related products and even services. It can be either through targeted advertising or if I’m using a site such as Amazon.com. So much information can’t stay unsorted, so the Internet platform uses a model that obsessively sorts the content and information based on your patterns of produsage behaviour. This brings us to a “new economy of filtering” (Mitew 2014) where in we create an attention economy. More simply put, the low cost of entry, high accessibility, no gatekeepers, low risk element of using the Internet as a platform for information prosuming has created an abundance of copies.

I’ve long been obsessed with book stores. The bricks and mortar kind. The thing I love isn’t the convenience of having the book here, now and in my hands. No, I just love the smell, the different choices I make when all I have to choose from is store stick. I love the feeling of using my finger as an index, running it along the shelves. The heavy feeing of a hard-back novel in my hands, discovered by chance on a back shelf. It might not be a new novel, it might not even be what I really need, nor what I was looking for. But I buy it nonetheless. The chance encounter, the instant physical gratification and even the conversation with the book clerk are all part of the things that create this environment that’s conducive to me wanting to pay premium rates for something that’s essentially a novelty item. I’ve done this many times, and while it might seem pointless and to many people a frivolous use of money – it’s still an indication that there are some things beyond the reach of what the traditional internet framework can do for users. Meaning we can look beyond value being inherent in content forms alone. Sure, I can find anything I need in abundance & for free – but how then do I know what’s worth paying for? Kelly (2008) discusses this and purports that there are eight categories of inimitable values that are extrinsic to the information flows – “A generative value is a quality or attribute that must be generated, grown, cultivated, nurtured. A generative thing can not be copied, cloned, faked, replicated, counterfeited, or reproduced. It is generated uniquely, in place, over time. In the digital arena, generative qualities add value to free copies, and therefore are something that can be sold… Even material industries are finding that the costs of duplication near zero, so they too will behave like digital copies.”

Mitew, T 2014, Into the cloud: the long tail and the attention economy, lecture, accessed 25/08/14  http://prezi.com/nm7rgdlnxhdf/digc202-into-the-cloud-the-long-tail-and-the-attention-economy/

Kelly, K 2008 ‘Better than free’, weblog post, Edge.org, Edge foundation, 17 October, accessed 02/05/2008, http://edge.org/conversation/better-than-free

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