Way back in aught 08 (September 2008), I wrote about the building evidence for Internet addiction. The March 2010 Entrepreneur brings us an article by Joe Robinson (“Email is Making You Stupid“) which explores several aspects of technological addictions – including the harmful side-effects.
This article suggests that the burgeoning amount of emails, instant messages, tweets, and texts we receive are becoming a harmful and prohibitive cacophony of hyper-communication. So why can’t people reduce the amount of messages they send (and receive)? Well, they could be addicted (“e-compulsion”). In such instances researchers notice decreased attention spans, increased stress, and decreased productivity (Alarming statistics! Read the article).
The most frightful thing to consider? What if what we’re doing – emailing about – day-to-day really impacts our life in the long-term? Robinson brings to light an argument by Winifred Gallagher, authored of Rapt, that “humans are the sum of what they pay attention to: What we focus on determines our experience, knowledge, amusement, fulfillment. Yet instead of cultivating this resource, she says, we’re squandering it on ‘whatever captures our awareness.’ To truly learn something, and remember it, you have to pay full attention.”
As noted by Robinson, it pays to pay attention to attention.