If you missed Supernova 2005, you can still catch podcasts (search technorati with supernova2005 tag) and several great follow up blog posts. Follow me here on Supernova 2005: Attention, Linda Stone, former Microsoft employee, addressed what we pay attention to and what drives human use of software. She coined the term " continuous partial attention" to describe what looks to me like a person with attention deficit disorder.
"With continuous partial attention we keep the top level item in focus and scan the periphery in case something more important emerges. Continuous partial attention is motivated by a desire not to miss opportunities. We want to ensure our place as a live node on the network, we feel alive when we're connected. To be busy and to be connected is to be alive."
John Hagel, Edge Perspectives continues with Linda's ideas on "The Aphrodisiac of Attention". "Technology will certainly be important, but I remain convinced that technology alone will not maximize the return on our attention. We will need human intermediaries to harness the technology and adapt it to our changing needs. Some of you may remember the concept of the infomediary.... That concept is resurfacing in interesting ways these days."
With Nick Carr, Rough Type adding a couple of counter points on Linda's ideas in Continuous partial nonsense.
At the end of my post,
Employee plots to Corporate Scenarios, I wrote about how Jon Udell developed a novel technique to identify an implicit community of interest and tap into its emergent group mind.on del.icio.us. We too have been playing around with novel ideas to do something similar with several of the services (technorati, flickr, pubsub, et al) and RSS to make it easier and faster to find and discover novel ideas and information. So far, most of out stuff remains in my basement since it is too geeky to explain and use. I think what Mr. Hagel refers to as an "infomediary" will work for now and hopefully soon, we'll have something better that deal with mind-space (your time and attention).
Bonus - Doc Searl's has a pithy on getting attention on attention.xml.