The web is ‘an interruption system’
Most Americans spend at least 8.5 hours a day looking at a screen, whether a TV set, computer monitor or mobile device, according to a study by Ball State University (PDF). Frequently, we use two or three of these devices at once.
That multitasking costs. According to a study by Stanford University, heavy multitaskers:
- Are more easily distracted by “irrelevant environmental stimuli”
- Can recall much less of what they’ve just learned
- Are much less able to concentrate on the task at hand
Now, where was I going with this? Oh, yes.
“The net is, by design, an interruption system, a machine geared for dividing attention,” writes Nicholas Carr in The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains.
As we “power browse” a dozen webpages at once, check our email 30 or 40 times an hour and text while driving, we become “distracted from distraction by distraction.”
So don’t count on your web visitors being all there when they show up on your webpage.
“Psychological research long ago proved what most of us know from experience: frequent interruptions scatter our thoughts, weaken our memory, and make us tense and anxious,” Carr writes. “The more complex the train of thought we’re involved in, the greater the impairment the distractions cause.”
Now … are you sure the web is the best medium for your thought piece on the future of the industry, the CEO’s vision for the future or the company’s five-year plan?
Source: Nicholas Carr, The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains, W. W. Norton & Company, 2010