Posted by: ARNoack | November 19, 2012

Avoiding Web-Induced A.D.D.

When I finished “The Shallows,” there were some things that didn’t quite sit right with me. In order to re-learn how to focus, Carr completely disconnected himself from the Internet and sequestered himself in the mountains of Colorado. However, as someone who must rely on online news articles, blogs, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn to do my job effectively, I’ve found other, less extreme ways to stay focused on the web.

Carr mentions the way hyperlinks temp us to click on them. This insatiable need to click on links, in turn, keeps us from spending any significant time on one particular webpage or news article. We flit from one page to the next without considering anything too deeply. To countermand this problem, I usually open links in new tabs and continue reading the current page I’m on before moving on to the pages in the other tabs. With this method, I remain focused on the task at hand without losing other important or interesting information in the process. Carr also talks about the incessant need to check his email and (I think he also included) Facebook and other social networks. For me, I only check my personal Facebook and Twitter feeds at work on scheduled breaks or during lunch. It’s easy to stick to this resolution because my employer owns my work time. It would be much harder to resist checking Facebook every five minutes if I were in Carr’s shoes, writing a book on a computer in the mountains.

What techniques do you use to remain focused online? How can we, as communicators, capture our viewers’ or readers’ attention on the web?

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