I read this article today over on Quartz: At first life without a smartphone was terrifying. Then it was beautiful. I have kept my reading habits in a running list here if you are interested. I really just want a way to keep a log of the things I am reading, but this one caught my attention and I wanted to comment.
I do not feel that I am addicted to my phone and I like hearing other points of view. However, I feel and have felt similarly to the author in terms of the amount of time and attention given to the digital, while ignoring and neglecting the physical around us. For some, this might include people or sounds or vistas, but not matter what you are ignoring, the digital world requires attention that perhaps we should all think twice about giving it.
My thing is audio. I have a love/hate relationship with podcasts, something I am often moderately ostracized for within the tech community.1 I ended up removing my podcasting clients from my phone and I rarely listen to music on my commutes because I realized it was a distraction that was having an affect over time. My point is, we all have our thing that can be (but probably shouldn’t be) too much of a distraction from the things that really matter and, time and time again, humans are told through evidence and emotion that we are meant to work with, communicate with, have fun with other physical humans, not digital distractions.
I have to assume this is because the majority of podcasts are one or more white men talking about technology.↩
Did the Internet community peak at bookmarks? Asked in a different and perhaps more complete way: just as technologies like RSS and email in their purest forms are hard to beat even as technology marches forward, what better technology exists to keep track of information on the ever-expanding Internet than bookmarks? Taken a step further, what better way to share the bookmarked information than a site of your own? As such, I‘ve been reading, which is why I write now.
Working in and having a passion for libraries, I am struck by the fact that the way bookmarks work in the physical world is not directly analogous to bookmarks in the digital world. Bookmarks in the digital world are instead like dog-eared pages or highlighted passages; if you think of the Internet as a single tome, that is. In any case, anything that moves you to deface a book should probably be shared or become immortalized in some other way than just a reference for a future version of yourself.