The various discussions concerning the future of the Society of Technical Communication reminded me of the concept of Attention Economics and Attention as a product.
Herbert Simon wrote in the 1970s:
“In an information-rich world, the wealth of information means a dearth of something else: a scarcity of whatever it is that information consumes. What information consumes is rather obvious: it consumes the attention of its recipients.
Hence a wealth of information creates a poverty of attention and a need to allocate that attention efficiently among the overabundance of information sources that might consume it”
Technical Communication – user manuals and online Help – fits well with this idea of Attention Economics. If you’d like to know more, then do read the Wikipedia entry on this topic: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Attention_economy