Thursday, May 12, 2005

Too Much of a Good Thing?

Thomas Vanderwal's post on The Art of the Pivot is right on. Our current media environment allows us new kinds of serendipity that even Al Gore couldn't have envisioned. I, too, would like more opportunities for this kind of interaction - especially on the iPod.
Man, I love that Kings of Convenience song. Wish I could rate it right now, because I'll certainly forget later.*

However, there is a flip side to this benefit, one that is disturbing and portends an epidemic of ADD/ADHD-type syndromes/disorders. The fact that when you can forever pivot, you may never get anywhere; the Internet assumes a bit role as interactive TV.

covers some of the dangers here in a plea for more attention and analysis from current design students. She's been flexible in teaching her design students, but they are losing the ability to focus on anything long enough to make simple connections.
And so I ask, Are my students condemned to put forth half-baked design ideas in a world that desperately needs their help? Are they--and we--losing analytical skills? Those questions hang heavily in the back of my brain like over-ripe apples about to fall from a tree.

I would like to suggest that some things cannot be learned without devoting one's full and undivided attention to them--no matter how much we celebrate multi-tasking. I suggest that it may be impossible to grasp difficult ideas and remember useful facts by surfing from one Web site to another. Without our personal storehouse of well-reasoned ideas and reliable facts, we cannot hope to be analytical, at those many times when life and work require us to use all the gray mater we can fire up.

Amen, Susan! I think all of us have felt the pressure to read everything and know everything and do everything. Not only to we have to be aware of the pivot opportunities, we also should be aware that every time that pivot appears, we're going to lose some of those that are trusting us to lead them down a path.

Let's remember that we need to open up the pivot opportunities to allow for wonderful, new connections, but also enable those who are looking for us to lead them to knowledge, not just data, information, or recommendations. We can do so much more.

*Ok, the fact that writing this post reminded me to rate that song heard in the car on the way home today proves Thomas' point. So be it. Please excuse me while I take care of that small detail...

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