If Time is the New Currency…

Talk to anyone in the ad industry these days and the mantra de jour is: time is the new currency. Brands, entertainment, technology…you name it, we’re all competing for the public’s attention. And if someone is willing to spend “time” with you (forget spending money), in this fractured, over-caffeinated, A.D.D. world, someone gracing you with their attention is the ultimate compliment.

Yet, ironically, if you take a step back it seems people have more free time than ever. Blogs, podcasts, YouTube, MySpace…who are all these people who have tons of excess time to make spoof commercials and Mentos montages? I can barely climb out of the deluge of magazines that pile up next to my bed every week, yet there seem to be an abundance of folks who have all the time in the world to create “user-generated” content that’s all the rage these days.

Is there just so much pent-up creativity out there that now that there’s an outlet, people are simply making better use of their time? Or is this renaissance of expression really just a euphemism for reduced office productivity? What is the public’s threshold for giving away all of our free time for free?

Please let me in on the secret. I’m dying to know.