Mark Higginson

How people's attention flows on the web

The web is a social artifact.
Here is a selected collection of related items:


27 February 2012

How registration affects comments.

Mother Jones started requiring registration in order to post a comment. Here’s what happened:

Let me know what you think on Twitter


05 February 2012

After waiting for so long to see the numbers inside Facebook’s success, it’s easy to be overwhelmed by all the new data we have about the social network and company. But there is one number that matters more than all the others: revenue per monthly active user: $4.39.

Here’s the Number That Matters in Facebook’s IPO Filing

Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to come up with five ways in which Facebook can increase revenue per active user. The caveat is that these ways must not alienate the user base.

That, in a nutshell, is the problem and is why the valuation is insane.

Let me know what you think on Twitter


24 January 2012

In the end I think it will be the emergence of a more general social contract about how to use these new tools that will change the way we think about and use social media.

Facebook and Twitter’s ‘non-natives’ learn dangers of social media territory

I’m quoted in The Guardian. The piece is about reaction to unguarded comments that become a matter of permanent record through the use of social platforms such as Twitter, et al.

That is the significant difference: a throwaway remark is now time-stamped and keyword searchable in a database somewhere.

Let me know what you think on Twitter


05 December 2011

Commercial publishers are the black holes of the web.

There are countless examples of this, but here is one a couple of friends highlighted earlier today:

Luxury sports cars in costly Japan highway pile-up (via the BBC) Ferraris destroyed in costly Japan motorway pile-up (via The Guardian)

The Guardian article cites NTV as a source but neither major news hub provides any links to source material where the interested rubbernecker can follow things up.

Compare this to Jalopnik’s post: Massive Japanese crash claims eight Ferraris, three Benzes, and a Lamborghini. The post contains an embedded YouTube video from Asahi News as well as links to additional coverage.

Ferrari pile-up

Photo from @cancim95 via Jalopnik

The web allows us to do more than simply regurgitate other people’s posts as our own yet the idea of linking out, a fundamental principle of being a good web citizen, sticks in the craw of traditional media outlets. This is why I refer to such hubs as ‘black holes’; you can only detect them by the links going in and there’s a complete absence of anything coming out.

This is an inevitable function of the commercial pattern these sites follow. Their audience is the product they have to monetise, i.e. by selling this data to advertisers in some shape or form. They believe that links out become leaks where attention can seep away and thus money evaporate.

Compare all of the above to the post on Metafilter: Eight Ferraris and one Lamborghini … in a $4 million pileup. Obviously this site follows a different pattern but the aggregated benefit of having a carefully selected link and 46 comments, which also supply supporting information for the person wanting to find out more is clear.

Let me know what you think on Twitter


27 November 2011

The company and technology dynamics of serving content to 10 million users with less than ten employees are fascinating.

Does ‘monetisation’ become less of a concern when you are so lightweight? Does that free you to focus on the service? Which in turn attracts ever greater numbers of users. Who by simply using the service act as advocates on whichever social networks they are already a part.

Let me know what you think on Twitter