The new flitterati, or why I am embarassed by my own ADD

I remember, even a year ago, I felt that I had it sweet with information management. My bloglines reader was full and well-organized, I had techmeme, blogher, and the NYTimes, and I pretty much cold check into flickr and upcoming whenever I felt the need. Plus I got lots o news in my email, and that crazy little thing called Facebook has these new status updates.

Yep, life was sweet.

Flash forward to today. May 2008. First of all, my attention has gotten completely fragmented. At any given moment I allow myself the luxury, I flit between twitter, Facebook, friendfeed, gmail, youtube, techmeme. and whatever else strikes my fancy. In truth, I feel like a high class street cleaner, someone who has to go back and start over the mind she’s done cleaning  a particular expanse of road–in other words, scanning my feeds takes way too long, and once I’ve done it, I wonder if there’s something that was added when I was somewhere else that I missed–and therefore, do I need to go back and start over?


In other words, I’m halfway toward being a total flitterati.

What’s a flitterati? It’s when you have continuous partial attention for everything and nothing, when a steady diet of comments and 140 word tweets have dieted down your brain to where deep reflection seems impossible.It’s when it’s too much work to write something long, and when following along on other people’s lifestreams takes the place of actually reflecting on what’s going on.

Navel-gazing of the third kind, in other words. Only through a digital lens. Extremely fun, but truly broken, and scary if reflection is what you value.

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  1. says:

    Hence the rise in applications that ‘focus’ on a single task (Q10 for writing, or the Prism stuff from Mozilla).
    Personally I find myself veering away from the browser these days, despite being a heavy user of Google Apps and completely hooked into my online profile, if I don’t shut that browser then the distractions are just too easy.

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