The Herald Bulletin

Morning Update

Columns

February 6, 2014

Susan Miller: Being intentional in a connected world

Looking back, those three little words seemed so innocuous. “You’ve got mail.” How could we know that phrase was the precursor of a communications tsunami?

What a difference a few decades make! No longer are we tethered to our Commodores or Gateways. Most of us carry much more powerful computers in our pocket.

Today, it is not just email we must contend with, but a cacophony of tweets, IM’s, pings and posts. The same technology that has unchained us from our desk chairs has ensnared us in the web of social media.

Oh, grow up and turn it off, you say. Sounds easy enough, but I read a report that explained humans are hard-wired to crave electronic stimuli. Experiments on rats found that the rodents would push a lever in anticipation of a reward as long as occasional rewards arrived.

What’s more, the rats were more compelled to respond when the rewards were spaced erratically at random intervals. We know not every email or tweet will serve up juicy content, but we know that possibility exists.

And since social media is all about us, it is particularly tempting. Push the lever– it’s hard to resist a reward.

All of that stopping to check for the “prize” is disruptive. It is hard to get into work flow with the vibrate setting on a phone buzzing. I’m convinced that us moms are slowly acquiring a sixth sense that alerts us to the most subtle of cell phone vibrations in our handbags.

These beeps and alerts cause strategy to suffer too. Because we can respond in the moment, we feel compelled to so do. But a speedy reply prevents the opportunity to pause, reflect, contemplate and see new connections that might not otherwise be illuminated.

When I think about Robert Frost coming across two paths in the woods, I don’t imagine flashing cursors saying “Like Me” or “Click Here.” I imagine the poet kicking a snow-dusted boot and quietly considering the possibilities of each path. Brevity of response very rarely trumps quality of response.

Text Only
Columns
Featured Ads
More Resources from The Herald Bulletin
AP Video
Raw: Air Algerie Flight 5017 Wreckage Virginia Governor Tours Tornado Aftermath Judge Faces Heat Over Offer to Help Migrant Kids Kerry: No Deal Yet on 7-Day Gaza Truce Kangaroo Goes Missing in Oklahoma More M17 Bodies Return, Sanctions on Russia Grow Gaza Residents Mourn Dead Amid Airstrikes Raw: Deadly Tornado Hits Virginia Campground Ohio State Marching Band Chief Fired After Probe Raw: Big Rig Stuck in Illinois Swamp Cumberbatch Brings 'Penguins' to Comic-Con Raw: Air Algerie Crash Site in Mali Power to Be Restored After Wash. Wildfire Crashed Air Algerie Plane Found in Mali Israel Mulls Ceasefire Amid Gaza Offensive In Case of Fire, Oxygen Masks for Pets Mobile App Gives Tour of Battle of Atlanta Sites
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Helium debate
Helium
Front page
Poll

Do you think Madison County and its cities need stricter pet ownership laws?

Yes, animal abuse is rampant in our area and something needs to be done.
Yes, but it may not help. It’s difficult to enforce such laws.
No, the laws are fine as they are.
Not sure
     View Results