The ever brilliant Kathy Sierra (who I really wish would hook up with Roy Williams – as two people who understand the brain – nothing more) responds to Twitter and the Attention Deficit world we create for ourselves.
Moore’s law for the brain doesn’t quite work. We’re evolving much, much, much too slowly… Brain 2.0 isn’t coming anytime soon. And we’re all feeling the enormous weight of not being able to keep up. We can’t keep up with work. We can’t keep up with our social life. We can’t keep up with the industry, our hobbies, our families. We can’t keep up with current events. We’ll never read a fraction of those books on our list. And we are hurting.
Worst of all, this onslaught is keeping us from doing the one thing that makes most of us the happiest… being in flow. Flow requires a depth of thinking and a focus of attention that all that context-switching prevents. Flow requires a challenging use of our knowledge and skills, and that’s quite different from mindless tasks we can multitask (eating and watching tv, etc.) Flow means we need a certain amount of time to load our knowledge and skills into our brain RAM. And the more big or small interruptions we have, the less likely we are to ever get there.
And not only are we stopping ourselves from ever getting in flow, we’re stopping ourselves from ever getting really good at something. From becoming experts. The brain scientists now tell us that becoming an expert is not a matter of being a prodigy, it’s a matter of being able to focus.
I was diagnosed with ADD about 15 years ago. Offered the meds, which I promptly refused, I have used caffeine as my focussing drug of choice. But the caffeine doesn’t help my addiction to internet interruptus. Google Reader awaits with fresh feeds. Google Notifier rings with every new email. Who’s reading my blog? Who’s linking? What shall I write next???
And I’m left with these questions. What is all this information doing for/to me? What is the flow I’m supposed to be getting into? And more scarily, Who was I and who have become? Let me check my reader stats and get back to you on that.