Seriosity White paper

Yes, we’re in a release cycle.  Long time readers know that that means posting will be light for a bit.  Here’s something for your reading pleasure in the meantime…

Our friends at Seriosity have published a white paper on their attention economy.  For those unfamiliar with Seriosity, they have a novel approach for relieving the email overload problem.  Taking cues from the gaming industry, their product introduces a synthetic currency to email that the sender can use to give an indication of message importance.  Here’s the abstract:

“The productivity of information workers is jeopardized by too much e–mail. A proposed solution to e–mail overload is the creation of an economy that uses a scarce synthetic currency that senders can use to signal the importance of information and receivers can use to prioritize messages. A test of the virtual economy with corporate information workers showed that people in a large company used different amounts of the currency when sending e–mail messages, and that the amount of currency attached to messages produced statistically significant differences in how quickly receivers opened the messages. An analysis of the network of virtual currency trades between workers showed the different roles that participants played in the communication network, and showed that relationships defined by currency exchanges uncovered social networks that are not apparent in analyses that only examine the frequency, as opposed to the value of interactions.”

See A marketplace for attention: Responses to a synthetic currency used to signal information importance in e-mail for more detail.


  1. Interesting concept. I guess the main problem in practice would be getting ‘buy-in’ from the user community due to the complexity of the concept.
    One thought for the future direction of ClearContext, though – some way of indicating the ‘value’ of received messages could maybe be used to feed into the prioritisation process for contacts. Somehow, the concept of ‘value’ seems easier to work with than ‘importance’, the traditional way of thinking about contacts and messages.

  2. I think you hit the nail on the head; it’s very difficult to get individuals to change their behavior, especially when they are drowning in email.
    Thanks for the suggestions.