Digital ADD. I don’t know if this term has been coined by others (I imagine it has) but that’s what I’m suffering from today. Actually I’ve been suffering more and more from it over the past year or two.
Right this moment, I have Firefox open with 18 tabs: Gmail, Google Reader, Meebo, Google Docs, Twitter and several blogs posts and articles I plan to read.
Here’s what happens: I see an article I’d like to read in Google Reader. But I’m too anxious to see what the next article listed in my Reader is so I open this one in a tab. For example, since this is one of the tabs currently open, I have the post “The Power of Small Numbers” open. In a short time I’ll have a dozen (or at times several dozen) tabs open with articles I plan to read. Finally my Google Reader shows 0 unread. Now I move to the tabs. I start to read a post and before I’m more than a paragraph into it I click to see what’s in my Gmail. Then Twitter. Oh maybe I should open Facebook and see if anyone’s moved on one of the multiple Scrabulous games I have going. Ding! Instant message on Meebo. Chat there for a moment or two. Oh! Gmail! Oh darn, I asked a question on Twitter 20 minutes ago and haven’t checked back. Oh yeah here’s another blog post I’ve opened in a tab to read, “Web as Desktop“, a paragraph in and I’m thinking maybe I should check what my weather forecast is today as it’s looking a little dull out, another tab opens. Gmail! Twitter! Meebo! Ohhhhhhhhhh I haven’t open Google Reader in an hour maybe I should see if there are any new/exciting/interesting/must open in a tab posts in there (remember I have a dozen or more open already and haven’t actually read them yet).
Back to first blog article I’d opened to read and an ad catches my eye. Hmmm… there’s a new ebook available I haven’t read yet. Hmm. Should see what it’s about. Ohhhhhhhhhh! An affilate program! I need one of those. Gmail! Twitter! Facebook! Meebo! Reader! and so on…
I don’t suffer this anywhere else. I can sit down with a book and read for hours on end and not think about getting up and checking Gmail! Twitter! Meebo! I can sit out in the sunshine with a cup of coffee and a notebook and write for hours, or enjoy a visit with a neighbour, and so forth. In fact, in most things my focus and attention is 100% undivided.
Not so when it comes to digital things. There are too many things to read, people to talk to, conversations to join or just follow, I’m enthralled.