How many times have you heard the phrase “pay attention?” Too many to count I’m sure, but have you ever stopped to think about what it means? Although the expression can be traced back hundreds of years, its meaning has evolved to become more literal. The verb ‘pay’ means “to render, bestow or give” something, such as a compliment, a visit or one’s respects. But now, when applied to the noun ‘attention,’ the most fitting meaning is “to give over a certain amount of something in exchange for something else.” Which begs the question, what is it exactly that we’re exchanging our attention for?
Given the context of the current so called ‘attention economy,’ I think we should be giving this question some serious consideration. In fact, I think we should give it the same consideration as we do when we pay money for something. Sometimes we think a lot about how much we’re spending and what...
They are all around us.
Among our family and friends.
At work and at school.
In our living rooms and bedrooms.
Driving cars and walking the streets,
some are more obvious than others.
But I see them.
Maybe you see them too.
They are trapped,
often for hours.
Lifeless and lost to us.
They’re adrift in that other world.
The one that held so much promise.
A better life,
we were told.
But the value it delivers is fleeting.
The consequences are not.
We reach out,
hoping to connect with them.
They try to reply
but can’t tear their eyes from the screen.
Their attention is no longer theirs to focus.
They’re stuck in an endless loop,
one designed to hijack our minds.
They / we are digital zombies.
The idea for this article started when a long-time friend of mine admitted that she’s much more comfortable texting someone than talking to them. “Even me?”, I wondered. She told me this, by the way, when I called her because I had grown tired of texting back and forth. So, I phoned her instead to have what I consider a ‘real’ conversation. I was surprised at first to hear her confession but then I started thinking about how we communicate and how it’s changed with advancements in technology.
I happen to know that my friend is not alone in her preference for text over telephone. In fact, research shows that many people prefer email, text, instant message or chat over talking—whether it’s on the phone, in person or through video. And it’s not just younger generations, though they are even more likely to feel this way. This shift is often cited as the reason for the growing number of people who feel lonely and...
A local coffee shop has been getting a lot of attention due to their recently imposed weekend laptop ban. The owner cites two reasons for such severe measures. The first being a lack of seating for patrons during their busiest days, which results in lost revenue for the cafe. The second being the antisocial environment created by a room full of individuals wearing headsets and staring at screens for hours at a time. In addition to the ban, the cafe is also limiting use of their Wi-Fi to a half-hour per customer per purchase. Not surprisingly, these changes are receiving mixed reviews from customers.
Restaurants and cafes have been navigating the positives and negatives of our growing digital connectivity for a number of years. On the one hand, the popularity of sharing food and décor photos on social media has helped many establishments grow their business. However, the realities of our device-obsessed culture has also impacted the experience of customers and staff alike in a...
You know how horrible and harmful secondhand smoke is? Even if you’re not the person smoking, it’s been scientifically proven how badly you are affected when you are near someone who is. Well, it looks like technology is also having a negative impact on the people around us when we’re glued to our digital devices. Now, before you call me crazy, let me clarify—not all the effects are physically dangerous. Some are merely annoying but many can actually be harmful from a mental health standpoint.
Most people have heard of the term phubbing by now. It refers to snubbing someone when you’re paying attention to your phone instead of the person you’re with. Sadly, it’s become quite common, to the point where we expect it to happen quite regularly. But it’s a still an unpleasant experience to feel alone while in the company of others. This behaviour has been proven to impact the self-esteem of the person being phubbed, leaving them annoyed,...
It was only 10 years ago when Steve Jobs unveiled the first iPhone. Nobody can deny its impact on our world since, in ways we never imagined. Look at all the things the iPhone and other smartphones have replaced - simple items such as the calculator, clock and flashlight. And many more that it has not just replaced but significantly improved, such as calendars, maps and cameras. For many people, it has even replaced their need for a computer. It’s incredible to think that we now carry all this utility around in a device so small it fits in a pocket. No wonder we find it so convenient and invaluable. One would think that everything is better on a smartphone but it’s not. No matter how amazing technology is, it can be more of a hindrance than a blessing for relationships.
If you go through life with your eyes glued to your smartphone, you will fail to notice opportunities to connect with people around you. This article illustrates how putting your phone away can lead to...
Last Friday morning, my day started with a walk downtown to attend Creative Mornings which is a wonderful, local monthly event. Terry McBride was the featured speaker and the theme for May was serendipity.
For a man so accomplished, Terry was refreshingly down to earth and approachable. He talked about listening to his intuition, staying true to his intention and taking advantage of the chance opportunities that have crossed his path. He told some great stories to illustrate how all this has come together for him numerous times, professionally and personally. Then, after Terry spoke, we had our group discussion. One of the things I love about Creative Mornings is that you break into small groups once the speaker is done, so you can compare your thoughts and reactions to what they said. After about 15 minutes of discussion, everyone turns their attention back to the speaker for a Q&A.
Our group of 8 or 9 had a good conversation about being open to opportunities, trusting your...
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