Oh!  My!  God!  That’s what the kids say when they aren’t saying POS (Parent! Over! Shoulder!).

I read an interesting article in Salon.  And yes, I am aware of the irony, which will become apparent to you soon.  I’m going to quote a bit of it here.

“Let’s see, so the digital revolution led us all to this: a gigantic, commercial, high school reunion/mall filthy with insipid tabloid trivia, populated by perpetually distracted, texting, tweeting demi-humans. Yes, the information age truly is every bit as glorious and special as everyone predicted it would be!”

and more …

“Combating distraction, it’s not as easy as just turning off your e-mail program. You turn off your e-mail program, it’s not your e-mail program that complains, it’s your friends, it’s your boss, it’s your bills. You know, ‘Where’s that report?’ ‘Why haven’t you answered your e-mail?’ ‘Are you mad at me?’ You can’t do this in isolation. If you’re going to deal with the problem of distraction it’s something that we’re all going to have to deal with together.”

This essay, written by someone involved in the Internet revolution, as I have been to a lesser extent, is so perfect I just want to ask everyone to read it.



4 responses »

  1. I’m going to leave a comment on my own post.

    I’ve been considering the impact of email on getting things done. Does email result in greater or less efficiency? One thing I’ve noticed is that because they can email their “thoughts in progress,” people don’t do the hard thinking, analysis & synthesis if you will, that we used to do. So instead of a coherent 2-page proposal or article or press release, say, we get 15 emails of a sentence or two each. That’s efficient for the emailer, who doesn’t have to think anything through, but very time-consuming for the recipient of the email, who has to put it all together, and then circle back to ensure that it’s what the writer intended.

    OK, I’ll be honest here. I resent being put in that position. I have my own work to do.

    Then it occurred to me that this is really the same thing (and likely the same people) who would insist upon “meetings” to “make decisions,” when in fact the meetings’ purpose was invariably to help the person who called the meeting figure out what he or she wanted to say. These people never really care about what you want or think; their purpose isn’t shared decision-making, it’s shared workload, their workload.

    I’m formulating a resolution here: I will ignore all of those “little bits of stuff” emails. And I will not attend any meetings called by people who haven’t prepared. Of course I’m not ruling out the honest “let’s brainstorm” kind of thing. And I promise not to put the task of figuring out or communicating what I think on anyone else.

  2. I went to The author of that article used to work for, but I read it anyway out of respect for the post author. Her request? “But who’s going to help the rest of us turn this stuff off?” The author talks about how bound to electronica her family is. That’s her responsibility, not the industry’s.

    We have personal responsibility here. The ethernet is not going to turn off what it doesn’t know we don’t want. People who aren’t prepared for meetings usually don’t know that until there’s a meeting, or they aren’t able to grasp the normative view of a meeting.

    And as to the children, they are ours until we yield them to the universe to raise as if wild.

    • Hmmm…

      Well, I must confess to being utterly confused. That generally means that I have bumped up against a very different world view.

      In mine, was the before-its-time, ground-breaking view of what the Internet might become. Early, founded in 1995 before most people were doing anything Internet-wise. First of the blogs. And of course, everything since — “social media” in particular — once thought, by some at least, to herald a new world order in communication. Now I have to admit that I’ve always been a little uncomfortable with it, but haven’t been completely confident in my feelings, because, after all, I’m a boomer, not a gen-X-er or Y-er or whatever came after. How can you be sure you aren’t just an old crank?

      When the Obama campaign set up a website that encouraged people to share their concerns, I guess I hoped that the comments would be constructive. Maybe the campaign was more cynical about it; I’m not sure. But I know that I and all of my coworkers from a few years ago still thought of these emerging technologies as having tremendous potential. Mostly, I continued to look fairly optimistically at technology.

      Over the last 18 months or so my views have changed. I was informed by the campaign website that the #1 issue in the country is apparently marijuana legalization. Furthermore, legalization would save the economy, because we could avoid all of those enforcement costs and hey, we could tax it like cigarettes.

      Well, I expect you’re getting the point. Disillusionment doesn’t make much sense unless you were in love in the first place.

  3. Our world views are pretty much the same, only I intend to stop looking once I know I don’t want to see something!

    I don’t turn away from people in need, because they want something I am happy to give. I see the opportunity to be of service in those situations, so it’s okay to engage.

    Obama drama? Perez Hilton? I’ve wished that stuff away, and it doesn’t bother me so much any more.

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