News
Commentary
6/21/2006
12:00 AM
Stowe Boyd
Stowe Boyd
Commentary
50%
50%

Linda Stone on Attention in an Always-On World

I have written extensively about Linda Stone's thoughts about continuous partial attention (CPA), and living in the always-on world (see Linda Stone: The New Millenialism, and A Chat with Linda Stone, for example).

I remain unpersuaded by Linda's thesis that CPA is a transitory phenomenon, soon to be replaced by some other, more evolved attention strategy. I believe that CPA is a return to a pre-industrial, hunter/gatherer mindset -- what anthropologists call cyclical time, a return to something earlier. Boomers may be doing a bad job of adjusting to the connected world, but I don't see that in teenagers or young adults who have been bred in this brave new world.

I also disagree with her millennial viewpoint -- she believes we are moving into an era when we seek protection from a grim world, as some animated zeitgeist of the age. But I applaud her spirit, and I am thankful that she coined the term.

My take is that we are in a transitory period, but not one in which CPA is put aside. Many folks are in conflict with the outcomes of CPA, but that is because -- in my opinion -- we have not yet left behind the attitudes of the information age and not fully adopted the beliefs and mindset of Web culture. CPA is here to say, but the guilt that seems to be the side effect of remaining connected (i.e., splitting our attention across a bunch of things at once) will go away. And of course, I believe the stress that seems linked to CPA for many older folks will disappear. We have to return to a tribal mindset about time, involvement, and connection, and I think that is what is happening.

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
White Papers
Current Issue
InformationWeek Tech Digest, Dec. 9, 2014
Apps will make or break the tablet as a work device, but don't shortchange critical factors related to hardware, security, peripherals, and integration.
Video
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
InformationWeek Radio
Archived InformationWeek Radio
Join us for a roundup of the top stories on InformationWeek.com for the week of December 14, 2014. Be here for the show and for the incredible Friday Afternoon Conversation that runs beside the program.
Sponsored Live Streaming Video
Everything You've Been Told About Mobility Is Wrong
Attend this video symposium with Sean Wisdom, Global Director of Mobility Solutions, and learn about how you can harness powerful new products to mobilize your business potential.