I listened to the February 8 attention podcast with Alex Barnett, Steve Gillmor and Joshua Porter and it got me thinking about the connection between search and attention.
Search is an obvious and overt expression of our attention. When we search we are sharing the words (keywords) that express exactly what we are interested in the moment. There are two kinds of search. One is immediate - We need information for a specific purpose, now. For example immediate search is perfect for looking up a definition. (by the way, Steve claims this is the only reason he uses Google). Most of us use Google to find a specific nugget as the need arises, whether it's getting directions, shopping for a specific item or learning about something that is static.
RSS doesn't add much value for immediate searching. When the information we need is dynamic and unfolding over time, RSS searching is incredibly powerful. The newest version of our RSS reader, Attensa for Outlook, gives you the ability to perform unlimited RSS searches across 18 search engines by simply typing the keywords that are the center of your attention. Enter the keywords once and search across Blogdigger, Daypop, Digg, Feed24, Feedster, Google Blog Search and Google, IceRocket, MSN Search, Plazoo, SeekItAll, Technorati, Wikipedia, Wired News, Yahoo! and Yahoo! News (if we're missing any let us know). New information is sent to you every time information relevant to your search is published. The information you seek is delivered to a single Outlook folder labeled with your keyword or separated into folders organized by search source and keyword(s), whichever you choose. With this single expression, you turn an AttentionStream into a continuous river of attention.
When you consider the typical knowledge worker spends 30% of her time searching for information, the instant and continuous access to highly relevant information delivered through RSS search slashes the time it takes to stay on top of a rapidly changing world.