It's the participation economy, stupid!

by Ruud Hein November 11th, 2007 

If you don't participate you don't have my attention.

In 1997 Michael H. Glodhaber said that this new, fast-paced time in which we live brings with it a new type of economy: the attention economy.

"What counts most is what is most scarce now, namely attention."

If a commercial is broadcast and no-one pays attention, does it make an impact?

Attention Requires Participation

People will pay attention to anything said about you and your company.

If you're not participating, you willingly give up mindshare and fail to

This picture is true too when you blog without participating.

Unless you're a celebrity like Katie Holmes or even David Allen, you can't get away with isolation: you need to "talk" about others in your field, link to them, comment on them.

You have to participate.


Attention = Money

Once you have attention you can do anything with it. You can influence, set the agenda, raise a call to action, start a meme, make or break a startup company -- make money.

" now flows along with attention, or, to put this in more general terms, when there is a transition between economies, the old kind of wealth easily flows to the holders of the new."
-- The Attention Economy

Participation is Your Attention Investment

Without participation there is nothing attention can buy.


People are listening but no-one is talking. And no, your corporate about page on your web site doesn't count.

If we're in a room together and I'm paying attention to what you think ... but you're not talking with me, the conversation falls flat.

The flipside of the Attention Economy is the Participation Economy.


In order to exist in the attention economy, you need to participate.

Recommended reading:

Ruud Hein

My paid passion at Search Engine People sees me applying my passions and knowledge to a wide array of problems, ones I usually experience as challenges. People who know me know I love coffee.

Ruud Hein

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7 Responses to “It's the participation economy, stupid!”

  1. Clement says:

    Good piece!I hope that I have your attention now :)

  2. […] Hein wrote an amazing post, "It’s the participation economy, stupid!" In his post he points out that attention requires participation. Hein writes, "If […]

  3. Bill Quimby says:

    There are lots of ways you can participate though, not just through your blog, although that is a good way and is obviously relevant to an audience reading your blog on the internet. But there are a lot of people out there that don't blog too.

    That's where an old fashioned phone number can work too. So many people on the web tend to forget or ignore that. They think they will get buried with calls or that people will stalk them or something.

    But even if people don't call you, having a real phone answered by real people isn't that hard to do and will pay you big dividends too.

    It's the ultimate participation. And when you think about it, you're closing rate or action rate when you talk to someone over the phone is many times what it would be if they just came to your website alone.

    Bill Quimby, President of Toll Free

  4. […] a framework of measuring social media. This led me to some Google research and brought me to a posting of Jeff Quipp back in November last year – defining the participation approach as "f… – discussed by Michael H. Goldhaber. If we take participation as expressed engagement – then […]

  5. […] Metrics for the Engagement Marketing" habe ich hierzu auch auf einen netten Beitrag von Ruud Hein und der "Flipside of the Attention Economy" […]

  6. […] to get their attention and participation is the how.  Or as Ruud's other article puts it, It's the participation economy, stupid!   Once you have attention you can do anything with it. You can influence, set the agenda, raise […]

  7. Abdulrehman says:

    I'm starting to think more of participating in my community because for my blog I hardly participated with blog posts in other bloggers in my niche, although I do follow-up with comments. Participation can attract great attention, and I think i need to take advantage of that!