The Pros and Cons of Having a Continuous Partial Attention Span

These days, there is a lot of talk about the web generation, or Google generation, and their lack of ability to focus on any one thing in particular for too long. In fact, I have read articles that say people who grew up this way have their brains wired differently than people who did not!

However, I’m not so sure this is such a new concept. In fact, I think I have a continuous partial attention span issue myself! I’ve heard arguments for and against this way of thinking and working, and so I would like to present you with my own set of pros and cons on this subject:

Pros:

  1. Managers and co-workers get an (almost) immediate response to their emails.
  2. There’s always lots of variety so you never feel bored!
  3. You can get multiple tasks done at the same time, so nothing has to “sit” or be put on hold.
  4. You don’t end up getting stuck on something. You can just put it down and go on to the next task.
  5. You get better and better at scanning through information and quickly identifying whether it’s relevant or not.

Cons:

  1. You are constantly interrupted when researching or working on a project-based task.
  2. The above is a “con” in of itself because of the annoyance factor, but the interruptions can result in a lack of total focus on any one task at any one time.
  3. It can lead to feelings of being overwhelmed.
  4. You might end up taking a longer time to do a larger amount of work, than if you just focused on one task at a time. (What do you think about this point in particular?).
  5. It may cause a tendency towards rushing through tasks and spending less time on them than you really should.

So there you have 5 pros and 5 cons from my own experience. Do you have anymore to add, or any thoughts on this subject to offer?

 

Find me on Twitter:  @jacbird and @masitblog

The Google Generation: is easy access to information really such a great thing?

Lately I have been wondering what the implications are of having all this information so readily available and easily accessible through Google. Of course, I can remember a time when life wasn’t like this. But for the so called “Google Generation,” they have never known life to be any different. They are the so-called cohort of young people born after 1993, with little or no recollection of life before the web. So, to find out more about this overload of information and what it is doing to people, I did what I know best – I asked Google. Apparently, there is a new emerging concept of “Education 2.0.” This is the idea that memorization of facts and figures is no longer necessary, because you can just look “that stuff” up on Google. It’s more important to just understand the context so that you can focus on context and meaning rather than facts.

http://www.readwriteweb.com/archives/education_20_never_memorize_again.php
But is it really true? Many people still believe that it is essential to have an internal knowledge base of facts in your own mind, in which to draw conclusions from and use to contribute to meaningful conversations. And others say that “the more you know and understand, the easier it is to learn new information and understand it.”
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/life_and_style/education/article5270092.ece
“Personally, I believe that it is not enough to just have easy access to information. You still need to know how to question that information, or be able to recognize when it is just plain wrong. You also need to know how to conduct strategic searches so that you can find the most relevant and important information. So, I’d like to pose the question to you. Do you believe that it is no longer necessary to memorize facts, when hey – you can just look it up on Google?”

Find me on Twitter: @jacbird and @masitblog