The danger of being distracted is a popular topic. From the serious consequences of distracted driving to the effect of distractions on productivity, the ability to concentrate and stress levels.
It’s easy to blame technology and being constantly connected in the internet age, but it seems that it was a problem long before the invention of the computer or smart phone.
This article in Aeon magazine quotes the first recorded reference to distraction – then called inattention in 1710. Inattention was blamed for many problems including moral decay. One economist even blamed inattention to duty as one of the causes of the French Revolution.
A side effect of being distracted in modern times is the reliance on devices and on-line sources of information. Thank you to reader Olev for sending me this link to an article in the Chicago Tribune about drivers arriving at the wrong destination, the incorrect house being demolished and more mix ups because of errors on Google Maps which GPS devices use.
People may have been distracted or inattentive in the 18th century, but travellers would not have been able to blame faulty GPS data for getting lost.
I find a GPS wonderful the first time I travel to a new destination, but try to do without it afterwards.
Despite the distractions and busyness people complain about, I am seeing an increase in the desire for face-to-face contact and a resurgence of interest in old hobbies and crafts. It’s not just my baby boomer generation, I hear it from millenials too.
It’s interesting to note the use of technology to promote these hobbies and interests and to make it easier for people with similar interests to arrange real meetings in real not “virtual” places.
Meetings arranged and promoted on platforms like Meet up, Facebook pages, Google Hangouts or with twitter # hashtags being a few examples.
The use of specialised electronic media to communicate with and advertise to small communities is providing a modern equivalent of the village notice board or notices on the windows of the general store of the early 20th century. One great example is e-magazines which offer businesses in a small community or those with complimentary products and services a platform to use social media to promote other members of the group.
I am a member of HealthyWR , a group of businesses associated with health and wellness in the Kitchener Waterloo region near where I live in South West Ontario. Contact me if you would like to find out more about starting a magazine or joining an existing one.
Yesterday, Sue and I attended a get together organised by our magazine owner. We met most of the other magazine members at a member’s restaurant. An enjoyable evening meeting people we would not have met without being connected by technology and the internet.
Is modern mankind’s relationship with the digital age, mobile devices and the endless waves of information maturing? Moving beyond infatuation and distraction to a more balanced less distracted stage?
I hope so, I do believe there are signs that it is happening.
What do you think? Leave a comment.