Elizabeth, technology is usually not bad, but sometimes the question should be asked, "just because we can, should we?" There are quite a few very common things around today that the whole world would be better off if they had never been built, and had never gotten into public useage. Some may argue it, but I put facebook in that catagory, right next to unsolicited internet advertizing, (spam). Also, web television and radio, which besides being quite redundant are also a huge waste of bandwidth.
I completely hear where you're coming from, William K. I do believe this is an insidious and disturbing trend that is not only limiting attenion spans even more, but also is causing society as a whole to be less connected emotionally as we become more connected digitally. I think relationships in all forms are suffering from this. I'm not saying that technology is a bad thing, and perhaps what's happening is just inevitable and there will be another shift someday. But I do think that people have a harder time really connecting emotionally with people one on one because there is so much information and so many other people or things or what have you that they can connect with online. Personally, I think it's sad, although I, too, am a part of the trend.
Elizabeth, there is a much more disturbing thought about the trend as well. And it the trend toward reduced attention spans is being pushed intentionally, at least by some individuals. I once read a remark by some MTV big-shot who was being interviewed. He stated that the fast changing images that led to the reduced attention span wereintentional, "so as to free the youth from having their attention captured by things".
The really disturbing thing is that a population could be enslaved and never realize it, if they were unable to focus their attention long enough to see that they were enslaved. Slaves that don't realize that they are slaves will not be likely to fight to be free. I find this possibility to be quite disturbing.
Of course, the situation with the phones is presently more a matter of bad manners than anything else, but many bad trends start small and then grow. Just consider the way that a large ship can have it's direction changed just by starting a very slow turn and not correcting for that small turn.
It is true that attention spans are shortening, and it is sad. I live in a place where it's not quite as bad--rural, coastal Portugal--but still, lots of people have smartphones here and though more people try to live in the present, there is still a lot of paying attention to phones and technology and not the person in front of you. I know it will just get worse as connectivity here increases. I think as you say, William K., there isn't much that can be done to stop it, but maybe it eventually will all get so distracting that the backlash will be people try to pay less attention to devices and more attention to the present moment.
Charles, the connectivity is primarily aimed at all of those folks with the attention span measured in milliseconds. Unfortunately that is becoming a larger portion of the population these days, and I am not aware of any legal methods to reverse the situation. My feeling is that as a nation we are on the track to becoming a second rate country. Perhaps a solution will become apparent, I certainly hope so.
The rowdy and aggressive nature of ball game fans of a team that loses can be curbed by this undertaking; instead off channeling their anger to the referee they could turn to the social media and rant about their frustrations. The connectivity can also help keep the fans that could not make it to the stadium in loop of the game stats.
Nope, not just you, Elizabeth - me too! If I was a conspiracy theorist I would say this is just another insidious part of a master plan to disconnect people from each other. Why "take me out to the ballpark" just to stare at my phone? To me, the price of technology is not just financial...but then, we don't allow phones at the dinner table either.
While I think this is a good idea and certainly it will make people going to the games happier, I also think it will cause people to be more distracted from the action and the camaraderie of seeing a game with friends and keep them more occupied on their phones. Sometimes I think less connectivity is more, especialy during live performances. What's next, tweeting from the opera?? But maybe that's just me!
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