Monday, November 03, 2003

Thanks to Dan Gillmor, i've discovered some fascinating essays by Clay Shirkey about social issues and the internet. The church could learn some things from what he says.

In his article Fame vs Fortune: Micropayments and Free Content, Shirkey talks about how the changes in technology have inexorably pushed in the direction of free content. The Internet "makes all user-supported schemes harder, and all subsidized schemes easier. It likewise makes collecting fees harder, and soliciting donations easier. "

He has an interesting discussion of "mental transaction costs", which he credits Nick Szabo with. Even if something's very inexpensive, just thinking about whether it's worth it becomes a kind of cost. This same factor applies to free content, in my experience, though: my attention isn't really free, i have a limited supply of it, and overwhelming demand.


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