Due to a temporary lack of internet service, I have been enjoying uninterrupted computer usage. And it is unnerving.
The new attention economy has two sides, having too many distractions is bad, but I’m learning that too few interruptions is also bad.
The always connected nature of modern life means that I am constantly interrupted. By information from RSS. By work via email. By computer literate friends by IM. By others via Skype, SMS or telephone.
My main problem is not that the signal to noise ratio is poor. It is that the signal level can get too high. Removing the signal is not the answer. The supply of information is the reason I endure the interruptions. The answer needs to be a middle ground.
Sometimes I want minimal distraction, and others I’m happy for increased distraction. Unfortunately, the control I have at the moment is an on/off switch. What is needed is an analog control for level of interuption. Something like the status in instant messaging. However, across all information flows.
Smart people are working on being able to monitor information you view and information you seek. The next step is to modulate the information flow. To wrest back control of attention.