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Social Media, Technology, and the Paradox of Attention
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Social Media, Technology, and the Paradox of Attention


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  • 1. Image by mangpages
    Social Media, Technology, and the Paradox of Attention
    By Nadia Yau @nahdeeyah
  • 2. Image by arvinggrover
    Social media, technology, and numerous web and hardware applications have drastically changed the way we live.
  • 3. Image by Dominic’s Pics
    Now, we have constant and almost instant access to information, through an endless variety of platforms and resources.
  • 4. Image by The GameWay
    For example…cell phones: In 2010, the number of worldwide mobile subscriptions surpassed 5 billion, which is about 70% of the world’s population.Source:
  • 5. Image by mfinleydesgins
    As of 2011, there are 500,000,000 active Facebook users – approximately 1 in every 13 people on Earth, and half of them are logged in on any given day.Source:
  • 6. Image byCarrotCreative
    In March of 2011, Twitter reached its 10 billionth Tweet. Source:
  • 7. Image by thunderdunk50
    There are 133,000,000 total blogs in the blogosphere, and 27% of those blogging update their site 3 to 4 times a week. Source:
  • 8. Image by sda
    We are perpetually seeking and consuming information…have we ever stopped to think about what information consumes?
  • 9. Image by वंपायर
    “What information consumes is rather obvious: it consumes the attention of its recipients. Hence a wealth of information creates a poverty of attention...”- Polymath Economist Herbert A. Simon
  • 10. Image by bark
    As beneficiaries of the greatest information boom in the history of the world, are we suffering from a correspondingly serious poverty of attention? Are we terminally distracted by the overabundance of information sources that surround us?
  • 11. Image by shino誌野
    Our jobs, leisure time, and academics are now increasingly tied to digital media and technology.
  • 12. Image by Horasis
    It’s how we do business…95% of business decision makers worldwide use social networks to some extent. Source:
  • 13. Image by nickdawg2000
    It’s how we record our leisure time – a record-breaking 750 million photos were uploaded on Facebook over 2011’s New Year’s weekend. Source:
  • 14. Image by Russian Banana
    It’s how we learn…48% of young Americans stated that they find out about news through Facebook. Source:
  • 15. Image by CocoArmani
    And it’s how we stay connected to all these things even when we’re on the go…Between 2009 and 2010, social networking app use increased by 240%. Source:
  • 16. Image byfreefotouk
    So how do we adapt to this new world order of multi-tasking and distraction?
  • 17. Image bykpworker
    How are these ramifications – from psychological stress and symptoms of addiction, to opportunities to strengthen and express friendship and community – impacting our ability to work, live, and learn in and beyond online platforms?
  • 18. Image bymajety
    Attention is a limited resource, and our moment-by-moment choice of attentional targets determines the shape of our lives.
  • 19. Image bydaturkel
    In a culture of Blackberrys and news crawls and numerous Firefox tabs – where we exist in a kind of elective ADHD – we need to invest our attention wisely.
  • 20. Image by PPC Branding + Design
    Rather than cutting these technologies out of our lives entirely, we need guidelines on how to use it appropriately in our homes, schools, and workplaces as to allow for more productive and measured use. Source:
  • 21. Image byHeikoBrinkmann
    As Dr. Bruce Ballon from the Centre of Addiction and Mental Health in Toronto states, it is all about balance. Source:
  • 22. Image byMaldita Mona
    After all, one moment of distraction can be the key to a creative process; one moment of judicious unmindfulness can inspire a thousand hours of mindfulness.
  • 23. Image byicathing
    In this era of rapidly shifting environments, maybe restlessness will be an advantage.
  • 24. Image by
    “Digital natives” operate constantly on “continuous partial attention,” and though they might have more trouble concentrating on a complex task from beginning to end than their elders, they can do things the previous generation can’t…
  • 25. Image byJoeA
    …such as conducting 20 different conversations simultaneously across six different media, switching between attentional targets in a way that has been deemed unproductive in the past, or sifting and filtering through information rapidly.
  • 26. Image by tlaukkanen
    Perhaps what we need to recognise what the web-threatened punditry often fails to recognize: That focus is a paradox—it has distraction built into it.
  • 27. Image by
    In the flights of irresponsible responsibility, the digital native may be able to harness the power of distraction, and attain the paradoxical, Zenlike state of focused distraction.