The title of this post is a quote from a story in Wired, which was passed along to me by one of my peers. He sent the link in response to my sending an interesting story from the NY Times, which draws similar conclusions about the impact of technology on our brains.
The upshot of both stories is that the way that we obtain and process information from the internet and via our various PCs, gadgets, etc. is tending to rewire our brains, and not necessarily in advantageous ways. The constant flow of email, blogs, tweets, etc. leads to a lack of focused attention, higher stress, and other unwanted side-effects.
I have certainly experienced my share of these symptoms over the last couple of years, with the lack of focus seeming to become more severe over time. Needless to say, this is stressful and frustrating, so I’m trying some experiments, to try to minimize the distractions:
I’m not trying to be a scare-monger here. But I do think it’s time for us to look at our use of the internet, computers, and gadgets a bit more critically, and perhaps see if some of the things we take for granted may not be serving us well. I’m not planning to give up the internet, or my gadgets, any time soon. But I’m definitely going to be looking for ways to mitigate the distractions and ratholes that are the nature of living an uber-connected life.
What about you? Have you experienced issues with distractions and lack of focus? Do you have strategies for staying on track to share? Let me know in the comments.
NY Times Article:
I agree with the points above, but one in particular stands out for me: inline links. I think I'm guilty of including them, oh, 100% of the time when I blog. I always figured it would be the logical place, with inline links. I never considered the distraction-factor, especially for someone who reads in a breadth-first fashion.
I''m going to try your links-at-the-bottom approach on my next post. This also inadvertently solves the which-instance-of-a-phrase-should-I-convert-to-hyperlink conundrum.
I really like the new Safari Reader.
Not only have I never before considered the distraction factor WRT links, I've generally considered them to be helpful and useful in terms of supplying needed background information. I'm definitely re-thinking that now, and will continue experimenting with link location to see if I can find a good balance between readability and providing needed info.
Reading this post proves beyond any doubt the benefit of putting the links at the bottom of the article or post. I was able to finish reading your post fully before delving further in the Wired article. This issue has been bugging me for a long time and I couldn't understand why I hated using the Internet for studying and reading long articles.
I'm good with the links at the end, and yes, I think it makes staying with the content to the end easier. I'm going to give Readability a try, maybe save on paper.