Digital attention-disorder: Turn off Important!

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Attention is a limited and therefore hard-fought good: seducers lurk behind every tweet. Ideas for dealing economically with one of our most valuable resources.

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Simone Janson Simone JansonSimone Janson is publisherGerman Top20 blogger and Consultant for HR communication.


Digital Time Management: Too much at once

Recently in the S-Bahn, back from sports, I read Twitter on my smartphone. Use idle time effectively and so! The relaxation was quickly over: I had seven at once Article discovered that I wanted to read or bookmark.

As I sat there now, with seven browser windows, and still fast my eMails, it struck me like dandruff from the eyes: I'm suffering from a digital attention disorder!

Digital attention disorder: How do we manage to stop

Until some time ago, I didn't even know that it was such an "illness". Barbara Haag then taught me a lesson. Now I am not a fan of such classifications - one can argue excellently about the “analog” attention disorder.

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True is the topic, however, one thing: In the Internet, you can quickly get from the little stick to the stick: Here's a message, there is still a click and it's already an hour around. About how and why you can write hundreds of articles and we are here  Best of HR –® yes again and again the important topic eMail accepted. This is a very specific aspect: what makes us keep clicking? And how do we manage to stop it?

Identify the whip and key maker

The solution is quite simple in theory: we need to identify the whipsaw and adversaries in the net - and not let them seduce us. That's the problem in practice: that usually texts are designed to do just that: seduce us. In any case, if the copywriters understand their craft. That's what I noticed the day before yesterday in Twitter: In the 140-character-preview the lyrics sounded super interesting. Well, when flying over on the home screen was not even half worth reading.

Twitter virtuosos play skilfully with their readers' curiosity. For example, when they write such announcements: "I know I'll never use this app, but I still have to buy it!" And of course everyone wants to know why someone wants to spend money on something that they know in advance that it is unnecessary. If the person in question had just tweeted: "This could be a really exciting app!" - the effect would not have been the same.

How media work: mainly populist!

Media work the same way. Sascha Lob has been self-critical last week complains about the prevailing populism on the internet and the Dadaist Hugo Ball quotes:

“As a German prophet you have to shout out loud and speak clearly. Because the people are hard of hearing. After all, endless repetitions of fewer thoughts do not fail to have an effect. ”

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Attention-makers arouse desires

This is not only true for Twitter: It is something exciting, important and urgent, it will awaken desires to have a certain information now necessarily click, which is then in truth not so interesting. Or you do not have to read, because you have already read or heard the content in other forms.

It is our brain's fault that we keep falling into the same trap: it wants to act as economically as possible and sort out or reject the multitude of information that rushes at us every day as quickly as possible. Therefore, we only perceive very selectively. Strong stimuli that trigger emotions are processed faster and better than information that is not emotionally involved. And so we respond to tense announcements rather than boring messages - perhaps containing more interesting information.

Against Divided Attention Disorder - just do not click

The solution? Above all, that we become aware of this mechanism. And click less on such tweets or articles. If we don't succeed, the copywriters may be less annoying us with such reports. Maybe an idealistic assumption. But maybe not at all far-fetched if you listen to Gunter Dueck, who talked about urgency makers - and how to deal with them:

“We have to teach the world to check out our own actions for generating time notices from others. The world is not naturally hectic. ”:

In this sense: just don't click!

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  1. IF.

    I will just bookmark this site and come back regularly. Thanks for that.

  2. Kevin Preiss

    Good post, I have the same gebookmarkt.

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