GOLDSTEIN: The "promise to pay attention", is that an asset that we have? Since attention is a scarce commodity, and you have only so many days/minutes hours in your life, the decision as to what you are going to pay attention to when has economic consequences.
GOLDHABER: Yes. But it is difficult to promise to pay attention in general.
GOLDSTEIN: Since it may be difficult to deliver on the promise?
GOLDHABER: Yes, I assume that the promise is a commitment that is to be kept.
GOLDSTEIN: People default on promises all the time.
GOLDHABER: People default but that’s…
GOLDSTEIN: Reputation risk.
GOLDHABER: Yeah, what strikes me is that I can’t honestly promise I will pay attention if you say things that are of no interest to me. If you start speaking in a language that is opaque to me or telling me the technical details or something…
GOLDSTEIN: You’ll change your mind, and you’ll change the promise. But in the context of the Attention Economy, your choices about what your focus on and what you ignore have economic value, no?
GOLDHABER: Right, but it’s not completely your choice. For example, if you know the Red Sox are playing an exciting game you’re kind of stuck in a certain way. You will feel very bad if you don’t watch.
(thread 9 of conversation with between seth goldstein and michael goldhaber after oreilly's attention economy conference, in march of 2006 in oakland)