As a teacher, or a presenter at a conference - just how annoying is it when people are chatting in the back of the room? Now imagine if they communicated completely silently - but still were doing this throughout the whole lesson, or the whole presentation. They're not bothering anyone - does it matter? I'm beginning to think it matters alot - and not because of politeness. I matters because the audience isn't actually listening.
For the first time ever (feeling very old!), I watched a live ustream presentation, with a chat window open at the same time. Encouraged by the presenter to also check out and interact through the live twitter feed - I opened another window to twitter. What I found though was that by doing this, I lost some of the content- and more importantly, I lost the focus and concentration I previously had for the presenter and his material.
I'm beginning to think the critics of Web 2.0 have a point : By multi-tasking communication we are discouraging focused concentration. While the interactivity is wonderful, we risk talking so much, and being bombarded by so many inputs, that we lose out on quality listening. Sometimes that interactive feed, that mobile phone, needs to be turned off.
And thinking of too much noise, I'm noticing how some people on various online forums are posting constantly - all day long. I've caught myself doing that some days. They (we) dominate the forums - and when you seriously look at what they write - perhaps they could have really just made one succinct, information rich and quality post. Just like twitter restricts people to 140 words per post ... perhaps we should restrict ourself to ... one (?) quality online post per day, with just a few comments on other people. There's something to be said for the brevity of clicking "Like" and leaving it at that.
We think about conserving material resources .. has the time come to conserve thinking and attention resources?