Author ORCID Identifier

https://orcid.org/0000-0001-6652-3179 : Vincent Manzerolle

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

2016

Publication Title

Communication and the Public

Volume

1

Issue

4

First Page

393

Last Page

408

DOI

10.1177/2057047316679418

Keywords

Attention economy, digital media, media theory, mobile pay, political economy

Abstract

This article contributes a framework for understanding the convergence of two ‘transactional ecosystems’ or, put differently, the convergence of two types of currency: money and attention. The former is represented in the push to make commercial transactions ubiquitous and seamless (e.g. as in mobile payment systems), while the latter is represented by theories of the ‘attention economy’ and subsumed in the ‘attention and engagement’ metrics that currently shape the production and distribution of content on digital and mobile platforms. The means of communication and commerce, of payment and attention, are increasingly wedded together in the same device or platform implying that how we pay for things is bound up with ‘the things to which we attend’. Drawing on literature on the political economy of media, this article provides historical and theoretical contexts for this convergence, offers some paradigmatic examples alongside industry analysis and concludes by raising potential concerns emerging from its current trajectory.

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