No Wonder I’m Dumber By The Day

Posted: November 3rd, 2010

Image by Jypsygen (Flickr)

Image by Jypsygen (Flickr)

The Joy of Being An Information Broker

There is not a day that goes by where I marvel at the whole Twitter hootenanny. Check the ticker, come across an article or some clever humor, read it, retweet it . Repeat.

Of course, I make my own contributions by choking down my own RSS feedbag and adding on to everyone else’s endless ticker. It’s somewhat comforting knowing that I’m doing my little part to provide something useful to others while simultaneously enhancing their eye strain.

I haven’t given it much thought until recently, though, about the whole process of the read and retweet. Sharing information is done in quite a volume no matter whether good, bad, so-so or funny but how is all this information getting used?

Well, if it has entertainment value, you get your kicks for five seconds and move on. But an article or blog post? Maybe you’ll spend a minute and think “wow, this might be useful” then bookmark it only never to return to it again.

Over time, doesn’t it end up to scanning even good reads and leave it at that? They pretty much pass through one eye, juggle around the brain then fly out the other as fast as you read the post. I’d say this effect is multiplied by the factor of the thousands of tweets racked up under your username.

Unfortunate Unlearning of One of Our Most Basic Skills

What I’ve really noticed, though, is an interesting phenomenon resulting from this cycle. My attention span has dwindled to somewhere between that of an infant and my neighbor’s cat. I end up scanning everything, even the important emails and articles that I want to read and understand.

I’ve always attributed this to simple information overload and lack of attention=brain is full, go for a walk. Oddly, this effect did happen to continue even if  Twitter was skipped for a few days to get that “RT” tattoo removed from my head.

Slightly worried, I naturally visited the usual doctor,  Google, to see what the big brother had to say. Lo and behold, he came up with an answer. Are you ready for this? Attention deficit… trait or its common name ADT.

Here’s a definition of ADT from Dr. Edward Hallowell (from CNET):

It’s sort of like the normal version of attention deficit disorder. But it’s a condition induced by modern life, in which you’ve become so busy attending to so many inputs and outputs that you become increasingly distracted, irritable, impulsive, restless and, over the long term, underachieving. In other words, it costs you efficiency because you’re doing so much or trying to do so much, it’s as if you’re juggling one more ball than you possibly can.

Then there is this lovely tidbit from Time:

WHAT DISTINGUISHES ADT FROM EVERYDAY STRESS?
If it’s not getting in your way, forget about it. But if you find that you’re having an awful lot of conflicts and not liking life very much, and you’re making quick decisions without giving them the thought they need, then you need to do something about it.

Do I Finally Have An Out From Social Media?

Somehow, I find it a little troubling that I might be on the way to a doom of long-term underachievement from a disorder yet-to-be-made-official. Luckily, the hating life symptom hasn’t appeared yet but Dr. Google is on call in case it does.

Now, however, comes the moment of truth. Give up Twitter, checking the RSS feed, reading blogs and go back to whatever I did before (eat, drink and be merry). Maybe take a long (permanent) walk?

Nah, I think I’ll just keep doing what I’m doing. I enjoy my Twitter friends and they need me too (I think).

Plus an ADT pill should be out on the market soon anyway.

More on the author, Johnny Spence
Johnny is the founder of The Freelance Rant and a freelance web programmer with 8 years in the business. Have a visit at his company Oscarrr!web or see what he's up to on Twitter.

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5 Comments. Join In!

  • Tweets that mention No Wonder I’m Dumber By The Day - The Freelance Rant -- Topsy.com

    November 4th, 2010 at 4:41 pm

    [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Johnny Spence, Theispot.com. Theispot.com said: No Wonder I’m Dumber By The Day /via FreelanceRant http://ht.ly/34iTs [...]

  • John White

    November 4th, 2010 at 10:11 pm

    Well, just choose yer poison. You can get dumber by the day sitting on the couch and watching NCIS reruns, or you can get dumber by the day helping social media take over civilization.

    Some people can do both, I suppose, but they’re paid professionals on a closed course. Do not try it at home.
    John White´s last blog ..Your Writer Is In Over His Head GoodMy ComLuv Profile

  • Mark W Schaefer

    November 5th, 2010 at 4:24 am

    Johnny, this is really an excellent blog post. Maybe one of your best. Really well done mate. Thanks!

  • Johnny

    November 5th, 2010 at 2:42 pm

    @Mark – That means a lot coming from the great Mr. Schaefer, so thank you for that. That bit of time that I spent away set me straight and helped me focus more on my writing.

  • Johnny

    November 5th, 2010 at 2:46 pm

    @John – I think I’m developing an immunity to the social media poison. As for the NCIS, well, I’m picturing that old commercial with the eggs, frying pan and something about a brain and “any questions?” I’ll leave that alone.