The problem with mobile phones that grab our attention

Our opportunity: remembering to find the OFF switch on our devices, now and then, and tune in to the present with engaged attention.

I believe attention is the most powerful tool of the human spirit. We can enhance or augment our attention with practices like meditation and exercise, diffuse it with technologies like email and Blackberries or alter it with pharmaceuticals. In the end, though, we are fully responsible for how we choose to use this extraordinary tool.

Linda Stone’s recent post, Fine Dining with Mobile Phones is deeply instructive for the design of ICT mechanisms for peacebuilding and is linked to a post by Ken Yamosh I pointed to in 2007.

For example, the series of ads for the Blackberry shown on Sri Lankan TV (done in India I believe) give the impression that one has more time for family and leisure when one gets a Blackberry. Not so. You become a hostage to work and what is more, raise expectations of quick responses even on weekends and at night. When these expectations are unmet, frustration builds up along with stress to meet them in the future.

Problem is, switching off is easier said than done.

One comment on “The problem with mobile phones that grab our attention

  1. Tom L
    January 12, 2008 at 4:46 pm #

    The nickname “Crackberry” is pretty apt. I wonder if we will ever really see the development of a powerful “switch off” etiquette, or whether we’ll starting seeing more social guerrillas using local radio signal jammers (rather illegal and ethically dubious) to force the issue.

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