Journalist Jemima Kiss on Kicking the Digital Habit

by Matador Creators Apr 25, 2011

I enjoyed this article on the Guardian (originally in The Observer) by Jemima Kiss.

It’s about kicking the “digital habit”, and although on the surface it’s just another take on how the price of ever-increasing connectivity is a corresponding lack of grounding, it has a few nice, personal images that made me sit up and take notice.

I especially liked the barn owl lede, and how the author’s initial reaction to her son’s look of wonder at seeing the animal was to reach for her phone. She also makes the interesting point that:

we have in effect been trained into digital message addiction because the most exciting rewards are unpredictable. We’re no better than slot-machine addicts.

(The italics are mine.)

The best part was her reference to Hamlet’s Blackberry by William Powers:

“The more we connect, the more our thoughts lean outward,” he writes. “There’s a preoccupation with what’s going on ‘out there’ in the bustling otherworld, rather than ‘in here’ with yourself and those right around you. What was once exterior and faraway is now easily accessible and this carries a sense of obligation or duty.” That feeling that we should be reaching out, or be available to be reached out to, is tied to the self-affirmation the internet provides. “In less-connected times, human beings were forced to shape their own interior sense of identity and worth.”

This resonates with me, and is something I’ve been thinking about a lot lately. What do you think?

Go read the article.

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