The Culture of Interruption, Redux

I finished The Shallows after I wrote and queued The Culture of Interruption.

We want to be interrupted, because each interruption brings us a valuable piece of information. To turn off these alerts means is to risk feeling out of touch or even socially isolated (emphasis added.) The near-continuous stream of new information pumped out by the Web also plays to our natural tendency to “vastly overvalue what happens to us right now,” as Union College psychologist Christopher Chabris explains.

Wanting to be connected and keep up-to-date is a natural tendency, but we survived for a long time without “real time” updates about the markets, Washington, and the President’s idiotic tweets.

The tendency to overvalue the new is something that the crap artists at Fox, CNN, and MSNBC, have been exploiting for years, so it’s natural that it’s migrated to our cell phones and computers. The fact that the information comes from the Internet doesn’t make it any more valuable.

I’m writing this on Thursday. Irma has already decimated the Virgin Islands and left hundreds of thousand without power into Puerto Rico. It (she?) is over open water right now, bearing down on the Turks and Caicos, but I have caught myself checking the new three times already today. Why? Because something new might happen.

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