Friday, April 15, 2005

Information 4 Pleasure

Information plays a central role in people’s life. Few other commodities are as potent and versatile as information and even fewer that are as all encompassing as information, which includes information for pleasure (Information Communities Model). Information is a substance for thinking, an ingredient of creativity and a source of pleasure. Understanding this is critical to the ability of Information Professional (IP) to exploit information effectively. Information for pleasure is one, which provides not only enjoyment but also a source of knowledge & learning. And vise versa, information for accountability, awareness, knowledge and sharing should incorporate elements of pleasure if it is to capture consumers’ attention. No other component of information model makes the information experience as sticky as the pleasure component. “But information is an experience good every time it is consumed” (Shapiro,Varian: Information Rules) This experience is even more amplified in the context of experiencing pleasure. Sports and pornographers in particular have long exploited the pleasure side of information and have developed some of the most sophisticated web sites and employed some of the most innovative online techniques and technologies to entice consumers to visit and re-visit their sites.
Pleasure is something that everybody is looking for and is prepared to pay a premium for it. IPs who understand this and skilled to incorporate pleasure element in their information design/proposition will always thrive. As the lecture notes confirm the top sites have always been those with strong entertainment or pleasure (sensual) content. The competition for attention is fierce. People will spend more time on web sites that incorporate information which gives pleasure. Producers of goods and services – including information goods - understand that in the “most valuable item in the information age: human attention” yet “attention is scarce in the information economy” (Shapiro,Varian: Information Rules)
Linda Cornwell in an online article “Kids Who Read Succeed investigates what does it take to increase kids reading achievements? Among other things she states that “Only if kids find pleasure in reading will they spend lots of time reading.”Marketers and producers of goods will pay high premium for consumers’ attention. Thus the value of pleasure component of information is very high. Other “techniques” to win attention is providing content for free. Many independent artists & authors willingly provide the fruit of their labor in hope to attract attention. As Tim O’reilley puts it: Lesson 1: Obscurity is a far greater threat to authors and creative artists than piracy.” Webcasting Live Events in Australia: The Kick-Art Experience by Tom Denison is a fascinating and insightful article. To produce information for pleasure is not an easy task. It requires thorough planning, hard work and at times little or no pleasure during the production phase. Nonetheless, making information pleasurable – whether for entertainment, education (edutainment’s the buzz word) or business transactions – will get people’s attention, thus increase their information consumption, which in turn increases the revenue.

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