PREDICTION: By 2015 Social Sharing Becomes Exponentially Irrelevant. Attention More Valuable Than Oil. [Video]

(Via TechCrunch.com)

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg punctuated his “awesome” announcement today by revealing that users are now publicly sharing around 4 billion “things” (status updates, images, etc) on Facebook a day.
Zuckerberg explained that in accordance with Facebook’s data, social sharing functions exponentially, so that the amount of stuff you shared today is double the amount of stuff you shared a year ago and the stuff that you will share a year from now will be double the amount you’ve shared today.

In Mark Zuckerberg’s Law of Social Sharing, Y = C *2^X — Where X is time, Y is what you will be sharing and C is a constant.

So, People… Serious question time. Here’s my response to the Zuckerberg Formula:

“Y = C *2^X — Where X is time, Y is what you will be sharing and C is a constant.”

Hey Zuck: I love you, I love sharing, but I have just ONE question – Where does A (Attention) fit into this equation, and could you address this?

Zuck’s Law of Exponential Sharing simply does NOT scale if the human brain is F (Finite) and its landlord must remain E (Employed). Every time you exponentially INCREASE social sharing, you exponentially DECREASE A (Attention) and fragment it.

As A (Attention) nears ZERO, where does that put Social Sharing on the Relevance Continuum?

Eventually, whether you’re sharing paper to the moon and back will become completely irrelevant if nobody has the attention span or the time to consume what is being shared. When we reach this point, should we call it N (Noise) or SI (Sharing Irrelevance)?

It may seem like I’m being facetious, or even pessimistic, but I’m simply asking a serious question from a media consumption standpoint. You’re the head of a multi-billion dollar company and your equation has some very serious flaws in it that are not addressed – primarily Media Consumption and Attention. It’s not like the old days when you could just write on a dorm room window with a white grease pencil and get the girl…

Social Sharing is great, but if a tree falls in the woods…

If everyone has the attention of a Tsetse Fly, and nobody is consuming, reading or absorbing what you’re sharing, are you R (Relevant) and do you M (Matter)?

The Attention Wars have started. Stay tuned to find out why Attention is the new currency online and why it is more valuable than Oil.

Love from Portland, Oregon,

Adam

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About Adam Boettiger

Practicing digital minimalist living in Portland, Oregon. I have an ongoing love/hate relationship with email. I write as often as I can, enjoy reading and also love to scuba and skydive. Content on this site is opinion only and subject to this site's Terms & Conditions. Twitter: @minimalism and @adamboettiger

  • http://www.digitalminimalism.com/ Adam Boettiger

    I’m listening… Bring it.

  • Dane

    AB –

    Again with
    the cynical view of the world and silly thinking that there is not a Moore’s
    Law for the human brain. Now there is; Zuck’s Law of the Absurd and Inane. Zuck
    already said his investor told him humans were really bad at understanding
    exponential growth. At these valuations, how would you dare risk your net worth
    by disagreeing with the guys who sign the checks? He is simply sycophanting/cementing
    that with his ultra-sharing network where every irrelevant thought and concept
    can be shared like a case of bad gas in an elevator – and with the same relevance.

    Since the
    world economy melted down, and the credit cards do not work, the only thing the
    masses have left is their time and attention, so they spend that like the
    drunken sailors to try to add some feeling to their otherwise dull and vacuous
    lives. Zuck is just adding value to humans by giving them a free outlet to
    spend their days since they do not have gas to get to the malls.   His harnessing of the masses works pretty
    much like the slave societies of old with a single ruler convinced of their deity
    status, getting the “citizens” to toil for free serving that deity as he amasses
    great wealth and power, only with “like” buttons and now video chat!

    Seriously,
    this is a real game changer. Those that have minds this small will be engaged
    in the dilly dally of the day, ultra sharing while those in power simple cut
    them loose to float on the climate-changed warming ocean of inane thoughts and
    LOLs. Until, of course Winston Smith or Bernard Marx address the issue.

    Dane

    Again with
    the cynical view of the world and silly thinking that there is not a Moore’s
    Law for the human brain. Now there is; Zuck’s Law of the Absurd and Inane. Zuck
    already said his investor told him humans were really bad at understanding
    exponential growth. At these valuations, how would you dare risk your net worth
    by disagreeing with the guys who sign the checks? He is simply sycophanting/cementing
    that with his ultra-sharing network where every irrelevant thought and concept
    can be shared like a case of bad gas in an elevator – and with the same relevance.

    Since the
    world economy melted down, and the credit cards do not work, the only thing the
    masses have left is their time and attention, so they spend that like the
    drunken sailors to try to add some feeling to their otherwise dull and vacuous
    lives. Zuck is just adding value to humans by giving them a free outlet to
    spend their days since they do not have gas to get to the malls.   His harnessing of the masses works pretty
    much like the slave societies of old with a single ruler convinced of their deity
    status, getting the “citizens” to toil for free serving that deity as he amasses
    great wealth and power, only with “like” buttons and now video chat!

    Seriously,
    this is a real game changer. Those that have minds this small will be engaged
    in the dilly dally of the day, ultra sharing while those in power simple cut
    them loose to float on the climate-changed warming ocean of inane thoughts and
    LOLs. Until, of course Winston Smith or Bernard Marx address the issue.

    Dane

  • tom bennett

    Good to add the new parameters of Attention and setting the capacity to an absolute number. Is it the new “Opiate of the Masses”?

  • http://www.digitalminimalism.com/ Adam Boettiger

    Hi Tom – Thanks for taking the time to comment. I think it may be. And to be clear – my intent in this piece was not / is not to bash social media, sharing, Facebook or Zuckerberg; but rather to merely point out that if you’re going to attach your name to a Law or Formula, you really ought to ensure that it’s completely baked before you talk about it publicly. Or at least before it gets picked up by TechCrunch. ;-)

  • Anonymous

    He’s just saying that people will share more. That doesn’t necessarily mean that others will listen to that. Maybe one day you will record your blood pressure, weight, what you see, hear, taste – I bet that no one will be interested in that. Except your doctor, your future self and maybe the insurance industry. 
    Everything has good and bad sides. 
    The whole thing means that the next big social media challenge is finding stuff for you that is relevant. Filtering, organizing is the next big thing after making posting easy.

  • http://www.digitalminimalism.com/ Adam Boettiger

    Yes, you’re right. He is saying that people will share more. And that is a very WONDERFUL, magical thing for Facebook’s investors and shareholders, for their advertisers and many others. People don’t have to listen to him. It’s already happening!

    My whole point is that, at some point, sharing creates N (Noise), and that the higher the ratio of Noise to Relevance, the more difficult it is for people to tell shit from chocolate on the web.

    When the tipping point is reached where sharing “creates” noise, then sharing will not be perceived as a “good” thing, but rather the focus will be on the Deliberate Elimination of Information Streams in order to give greater Attention to Individual Relevance.

  • http://www.socialcolleague.com/ JPMiddleton

    I’ve recently gone on a streamlining binge of social network profiles, especially Facebook. Trying to remove links and ‘shares’ that I personally don’t deem relevant for sharing any more. 

  • http://www.socialcolleague.com/ JPMiddleton

    Fair point.