Thursday, September 3, 2015

The Age of Distraction: Your Brain on Technology

Here's the issue: It goes back to when Apple introduced the first iPhone in 2007 — that's less than a decade ago. Fifty-eight percent of American adults have a smartphone today. Sixty-seven percent of the time, people are looking at their phones without any sort of ring or vibration. Forty-four percent of Americans have slept with their phone next to their beds. ...many of you told us smartphones make you feel like you have the power to be connected all the time, organized beyond measure, and never, ever without entertainment while you're waiting for coffee. But you've also told us they make you feel dependent, exhausted, and addicted — some of you say you're actually relieved when you lose or break your phones for a day.
~Manoush Zomorodi, "The Case for Boredom"

We recently took part in the podcast Note to Self's Bored and Brilliant project, a week of challenges aimed at helping people detach from their phones and spend more time thinking creatively. The challenges included not taking any pictures for a day and deleting the app you use most (at least for a day), and you are also supposed to download an app that monitors your phone use (it seems counterintuitive to add an app to your phone to stop you from using the apps on your phone, but the results were, in our case, somewhat alarming).  This got us thinking about our technology usage - how much we used technology, what kinds of technology, and what for.

There are several item in the catalog that speak to our modern use of technology, whether it's about staying connected without diminishing our intelligence, attention spans, and ability to really live; the legal contract social media users have made with service providers; the lack of opportunities for silence, wonder, and solitude in our hyperconnected lives; the affect of our increasingly networked world on global affairs; young people's use of social media; and a couple even posit that every technological innovation - from the written word to the printing press to the telegraph - has provoked the very same anxieties that plague us today, but we adapt. If you're uneasy about your use of technology or looking to find out more about the ways technology connects us all, the library catalog might have something to pique your interest!  Here are some likely contenders:

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