As we make the transition to the Web as our new media, focus and attention agility are the new survival skills according to Howard Rheingold. For all things Howard, start here with Crap Detection 101:http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/blogs/rheingold/detail?entry_id=42805. and follow the yellow linked road. He is the Oz behind the digital curtain.
In the day of mass digital distraction where the majority of people are texting, tweeting, FBing, YouTubeing and playing games the need for focusing one’s attention, mindful attention as Howard calls it, has never been greater. Two factors are at play right now – digital illiteracy, and “ADDD” (attention digital deficit disorder).
The igeneration and/or generationz are supposed to be the generation that get’s it. They are growing up in a digitally permeated universe, where the Net is the medium. Yet they are digitally illiterate, with respect to knowing how to use the tools available to make any sense of the information overload the Net provides and at the same time are the most heavily medicated generation for Attention Deficit Disorder. Neither factor bodes well.
Masters of multi-tasking – NOT! Attention agility – maybe in first person shooter games, or texting while driving, but AFK >IRL (google it), NOT! We are back at square one as we enter this new age and must teach our children well – to riff off Crosby, Stills and Nash. And we must let them teach us at the same time. It’s a collaborative world now and we are all a part of the Global Village. That in itself is a misnomer because it’s many villages and we have not really connected as yet.
But we’re starting. So find your Toto (or totem) and skip on down the road. Focus on what really matters to you, use all the tools available, make digital a part of your life, not your whole life. And be agile.
Oh, and by the way the response to AFK >IRL is “everything is real life”! Enjoy.