while kathy sierra, does refer to twitter as "the new crackberry" in her post the asymptomatic twitter curve. here target for blame in our information overload struggles is clearly time magazine's person of the year.
twitter is just another indication of our continuing, if not growing, inability to manage the information we confront and create at any time. she squarely lays the responsibility for this mismanagement on the individual - versus external actors. of course it's the external actors that we'd like to blame for overloading us.
kathy discusses linda stone's concept of continuous partial attention. stone says on her wiki:
To pay continuous partial attention is to pay partial attention -- CONTINUOUSLY. It is motivated by a desire to be a LIVE node on the network. Another way of saying this is that we want to connect and be connected. We want to effectively scan for opportunity and optimize for the best opportunities, activities, and contacts, in any given moment. To be busy, to be connected, is to be alive, to be recognized, and to matter.
kathy links this to mihaly csikszentmihalyi's flow theory by showing how our continuous partial attention never gives us the chance to focus and spend time with ideas th us making it near to impossible for us to achieve any resemblance of flow.
i can say that this is definitely true in my case. in fact stone's thoughts were chilling to me. it felt like she was inside my cluttered mind taking inventory. while I have been able to keep myself from getting sucked into some applications (second life being front and center for me. I just know myself and the day I create an sl avatar could very well be the last day I see real sunlight!), I have my weak points. monitoring the continuous launching of new and better (and worse) web 2.0 applications has been nearly a daily obsession for me. i'm sure i have several hundred user accounts set up. several times recently i've tried to create an account and found that someone has already registered my favored user name (dcleesfo). indignant i would check out who it was, only to find that it was me.
another place where i lose myself to continuous partial attention is all the darned community sites. let's see, i have memberships/user accounts at:
- my yahoo
- yahoo groups
- communities of practice
- evaluating elearning
- linkedin bloggers
- google groups
- learning circuits blog author team
- blogger help
- pbwiki forums
- learning flow
and that's only the the CoP's I can remember that relate to my work!!! there are easily another handful of sites i am a member of related to my personal life.
on top of all of this pile on the fact that I'm a gemini. we have a reputation for having very powerful curiosities and a "need to know" that finds us jumping from topic to topic a the slightest provocation. i've said for a long time that giving a gemini internet access is once again proof that, if she does exist, god definitely has a sense of humor. i thought this was going to be a quickly post and then i'd grab some dinner. but when i went to kathy's site to grab the permalink for the link to her post i saw two other posts i just had to read. then i lost an hour getting the link and quote from linda stone's wiki!!! we wont even discuss tracking down this picture of alanis morisette!!!!! yes, my mental image of god these days tends to be morisette's portrayal of god in kevin smith's dogma.
(i hear you laughing up there!)
so what am i to do? stone's right. i have a tremendous need to be connected. afterall, isn't that what we keep talking about? but sierra's right too, flow definitely seems a far away dream. while there are plenty of self-help books, tapes, websites, and, yes, even a few good web 2.0 applications out there to help me, they will never help unless i let go of one major error in my working ways.
with web 2.0 we trumpet the shift from the read-only web to the read/write web. in our enthusiasm i've come to realize that many of us have fallen into the trap of focusing on the new aspect of a technological innovation and forgetting about the strengths of the old. I have to remember that it's ok to just read occasionally. if you don't think focusing too strongly on the new can be dangerous take a look at graham watt's comment regarding the race to the south pole on harold jarche's blog.
finally, it's my rudimentary understanding of networks that if every node in a network were firing at once no communication would occur. worse yet, in the case of electrical networks, like our brain for instance, it can lead to explosion or meltdown.