This week we are exploring “Attention and Multi-Tasking”. I had different ideas of what to write for the blog, but I couldn’t decide in which to elaborate more about, and in honor to the topic of the week, I decided to share the three threads of thought that came to my mind while reading the different articles.
- I remember before I started working in the Puerto Rico Public-Private Partnership Authority (PRP3A). I have had a smartphone for a little while; I mostly used it for my personal email, some internet surfing, and multiple non important applications. Once I connected my smartphone to the work email, it never ended beeping from incoming email. It was like I was never out of the office; I received emails in the middle of the night, during weekends, every time and everywhere… Technology makes us more efficient and helps us organize ourselves better; at least that is what it is supposed to do. At what point is technology making our life’s more complicated, when is it competing with other tasks in our lives?
- Now in my PhD I find myself with a similar conundrum but to a lower scale. Now, I find myself bombarded with endless sources of information. Now I have a dissertation topic that I am exploring, other topics related to it that call my attention, and unrelated topics that I want to learn more about or just read. If I see something that calls my attention I open the link, sometimes I have no time to read it and I leave it open for later, or download it as a PDF. As of today I have 291 tabs open in my web browser, I will probably never read all of these articles. I see that I am not alone, as Nicholas Carr mentions.
- The internet is an endless source of information; the problem is that it is full of misinformation too. You have to very careful of what you are reading and vetted with several other sources. We as researchers do that, but not everyone does it. We have competing sources of information, it all depends from where we get ours. Recently, I read an article that mentioned that a majority of millennials are getting their political news from social media, and how this can be very troubling. You read mostly what appears in your news feed, and this is predetermined by previous posts that you liked, effectively taking out other news from your possible sources. This is troubling, but not that different to what will happen if you watch a specific TV channel where you know they cover some specific news or from a certain perspective. At the end of the day, we have to learn to parse through different sources of information and use our critical thinking to form our own opinions.
This three threads of thought are different but they have something in common. It all comes down to the idea that technology should be something that helps us to be more efficient; like been able to send an email from anywhere in the world from your cell phone or been able to access information like never before. It all comes to what Clive Thompson says in an interview to Nick Bilton, and my mom told me when I was little and still does: “everything in moderation.”