Continuous partial attention

since Supernova, everyone is all excited about this: ho hum

I'm with Nick Carr on this one. Continuous Partial Attention is a hip way of talking about something that people have been calling attention to for decades. Remember the articles about multitasking when the Walkman or Cellphone came out? This is nothing new, but the 20-year cycle idea is kind of ridiculous. Also, the thought that we're moving towards a new cycle where people don't multitask is just a joke. "The next aphrodisiac is committed full-attention focus" is a statement that says nothing, but is designed to provoke argument. Since when was it not? How has partially paying attention to a person every been considered ok?

All evidence points to the contrary. People are multi-tasking more than ever. Gen Y are more adept at IM'ing while doing their homework and watching TV and talking on a cell phone than GenX (my generation) ever was. I don't see anyone under 40 unplugging from their on-line social networks in a desire for more direct human connection. The on-line networks are moving more and more onto mobile devices so that you can spend that time in the presence of others while maintaining your virtual connections. I see that increasing rather than decreasing.

I guess the thing that kind of bugs me about the whole discussion is that the "inventor" of the continuous partial attention "idea" has only talked about it from behind a podium during keynote presentations. How 'bout writing an article or publishing a paper or starting a blog? You know... entering the world of debate: where you can defend your ideas?

Posted: Sun - July 24, 2005 at 05:26 PM           |