Danger! Overload!

Danger Will Robinson! Information overload imminent!

While browsing through Brian Donohue and Terry McKenna’s great blog, DailyRevolution, I came across this excellent 9-minute video by journalist Maggie Jackson on the “Erosion of Attention”:

Maggie Jackson is the author of Distracted: The Erosion of Attention and the Coming Dark Age. She’s really worried about the excess of information in today’s world, in particular on the internet. How can we really know what’s going on while skimming the surface? How difficult is it to go in depth to gain real understanding? Are we losing the ability to focus? She believes we are and that this is presaging a coming dark age. Wonder if I’ll be around to see it? I doubt it, but then things do move fast.

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  1. SleepyLaKate’s avatar

    I haven’t watched the video yet ( this weekend, when I have more time), but um… YES.

    For me, even worse, because I couldn’t even stay focused enough to finish college (s). It’s only gotten worse since 1995, the year I started using the internet.

    Look at teenagers now. They don’t even know how to write. They just text.
    I am totally influenced by surface information.. It suits my lazy slacker brain.
    What a mush mind I am.
    I can barely sit through the half-hour evening “world” news…
    I manage to get through an entire New Yorker article now and then, but getting myself through a whole book these days takes much more effort (though it can be done.)

    I am a jack of many trades but a master of none. Yep. Growing up in these age has only made me dumber.


  2. Mardé’s avatar

    Thanks, Joe. I’ll check that out.

    Oh Kate, don’t berate yourself too much. You are a good writer and the evening “world” news is often superficial because real happenings are too complex to squeeze reasons for them into tiny time slots. That’s just the way it is. The internet has made vast reaches of information available that no one can really penetrate without taking way too much time. How much time do we have? And you’re not dumb! You’re a great person who can learn and communicate with the best of them.

  3. Robyn McMaster’s avatar

    Distractions come in many ways to each of us. One is boredom and that begins in our schools since most teachers fall back on the centuries old lecture [teacher talk] method. Most students get bored and are easily distracted when that is so and many keep tuning out. I sense many begin under these circumstances. Research shows that students retain only 5 percent of information in a lecture so you can see how ineffective anyway. And, that’s only one element that might affect distractions…

    But, it’s best to focus on personal solutions since we are the ones to recognize when we zone out. We’ll do ourselves a favor by developing strategies to work against these. That’ll put the old noodle to work and benefit us all at once!

  4. Online Writing’s avatar

    I think we’re becoming overwhelmingly limited at our ability to focus. The Internet breeds ADD and this is a great video on it. The success of things like StumbleUpon reinforce our need to get new stimuli. Likewise, you can see the effects on sites like Digg where the successful posts are Top ten posts where people can skim it and not read any of the actual contents.

  5. Mardé’s avatar

    Thanks for your good comments, Robyn and Online Writing. As you say, Robyn, focusing on strategies for developing focus would be a good thing. Good examples of how the Internet breeds ADD, Online Writing.


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