Crowdsourcing and Attention, an article by Bernardo Huberman

Photo of Bernardo Huberman

November 2008 – An article by Bernardo Huberman, a senior HP Fellow and director of the Social Computing Lab at HP Labs, about the role of social networks in the “generation, dissemination and validation of ideas,” was published in the November 2008 issue of the IEEE journal Computer.

Entitled Crowdsourcing and Attention, the article focuses on the phenomenon of user-generated content on the Web and how it has upended the previous patterns of content creation and consumption.

The findings reported in the article are based on recent studies conducted at HP Labs that analyze the popularity of online content on well-known social media sites such as and YouTube.

A fundamental question that this research attempts to answer is “how does the flood of digital media that streams into our senses affect attention?” Understanding the “dynamics of collective attention” and its allocation in the context of online networks, including the construction of mathematical models to predict those dynamics, is key to the information economy and the design of useful and compelling interfaces in the age of web 2.0.