Saturday 26 September 2020

Digital Dilemmas and the Psychology of Distraction

How do we reclaim the 'power' of our attention in this age of distraction?

Its a really important question because digital technologies have completely changed the way that we live. In just a few short decades the manner in which we interact with the world and each other has completely shifted. In the midst of all of this dynamic movement have we paused to consider just how pervasive the changes are and what they can mean for us now and in the future?

There is no question that these technologies are a force for good in our lives but there is also another side to all of this. It would be unwise for us not to make the effort to understand at least some of the implications and how they may impact us and our children. There are choices to be made as we march forward within this shifting paradigm. 

At the forefront of this movement are our so-called smart devices.

What is emerging is an ocean of smart technologies which are highly interdependent. To stay afloat in this ocean we need, at the very least to know how to tread the water, better still how to swim, even better than that how to discern which waves and currents to catch and which to avoid.

Devices with apps that are created to snatch away our attention and meter it out to us as micro-fragmented milli-moments have the potential to lead us into a state of profound confusion and disconnection if we do not develop some essential modern-day skills.

Without them, our precious time and attention can be manipulated for profit and power. Reclaiming our power is about learning to 'swim.'

We do not need to be helpless pawns in this digital game, with knowledge come  the possibilities for rewriting the rules of our engagement. Rewriting them to suit our needs from a place of conscious and active participation. 

How do we reclaim our power? 

We reclaim our power by reclaiming our attention.

We need to get smarter.
But in this case, by 'smarter' I mean wiser and more conscious of what we give our precious time and attention to.

Why? Because we live in an age of distraction and complexity. There are so many demands on our 'mind-space' ready to snatch away our attention. In a cynical society based on consumer spending and profit, we find small groups of highly trained people who know all about creating devices that are both desirable and smart.

Trapped into this never-ending spiral of clever marketing we are told that we need more, better, faster and smarter stuff and the unsuspecting buyer has become a plaything of the very technologies that he/she 'plays' with.

And when too much power is in the hands of too few people one has to question where all of this can lead...

Such a potential 'power' for good has also its flip side and we the users, the consumers need to begin to take an active part in understanding and harnessing this power...

(1st Edition November 2019
  2nd Edition July 2020)