Attention Curve

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Meaning 1

The attention curve is a summary of who's watching what sources, and is especially applied to the blogosphere.

According to David Sifry who publishes regular reports on the Blogosphere, the following sections of the attention sphere can be distinguished:

- The Big Head: the most popular blogs

- The Long Tail: in a world of micromedia, the tail of the attention curve can stretch very, very far:

"the long tail of the blogging world goes out to 27.2 million blogs"

- The Magic Middle: sits in between the big head and the long tail: "these are blogs that are interesting, topical, and influential, and in some cases are radically changing the economics of trade publishing."

For more information, see

Meaning 2


Comes with a very useful graphic.

New social trends go through a hype and rejection/acceptance cycle, called an attention curve by Mark Beam, who examines the 'capital for good' (i.e. how Social Entrepreneurship and Fair Trade and other Blended Value trends are taken up.

"A “social trigger” occurs when some new way of creating both social and financial value is developed and begins to spread. New social enterprises are born and some level of acceptance of the idea emerges among a group of insiders. This initial success may or may not be driven by a new technology. In many cases such as microfinance or fair trade, a new bargain is struck and/or a new series of transactions are created or redefined. In any case this social trigger allows others to see and do things differently that result in the creation of both social and financial value. Attention follows and soon an emerging market sector is born.

Typically this attention follows a curve upward until a level of “peak attention” is reached, most recently exemplified by the way everything has gone “green” - from special popular magazine issues on the subject to the Oscars and Al Gore’s Inconvenient Truth.

Of course from this point there is no place to go but down in terms of attention. It is in this down cycle where the sector shows its mettle. While significant attention usually brings a flow of new money, these new ideas have to actually work or they slowly disappear off the radar. This is the period I call “market acceptance.” The idea either proves to be sustainable or it falls off the chart. If indeed it proves out, a more mature period of expansion and development occurs supported by smart money. In the case of clean technology for example, this has meant a quadrupling of venture investment in the last six years. Ultimately the acceptance of the idea becomes so commonplace that “market liquidity” develops as it has with the affordable housing market."

The attention chart points out that blended value has been around for a long time, with serious market successes to point to. It also says there is a lot more where that came from, a wave of new ideas, companies and non-profits, albeit at different stages of maturity, that are following on the heals of their predecessors. I’d love to hear your comments and suggestions." (