Dwell Time

Welcome to Digitally Literate, issue #332.

I presented three sessions this week at TLT Con 2022.

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The problem with the internet that no one is talking about

How all of human creativity got reduced to “content creation” and what to do about it.

Although everyone is “creating”, creativity is getting more and more limited. People see what’s working for others and start imitating them. We’re all trying to tap into our creativity yet we are losing what makes us unique because we’re trying to please the “algorithm.”

The Double Terror of Being Black in America

Weeks after 4chan motivated a quadruple shooting in Washington, the racist and conspiracy-oriented online message board inspired the killings of 10 at a grocery store in a predominantly Black neighborhood of Buffalo over the weekend.

Great Replacement theorists believe there is a plot to diminish the influence of white people. While these claims have no basis in modern biology or sociology, they are established doctrine on 4chan. When violence occurs, 4chan is also notorious for praising and deifying other mass shooters and white supremacist terrorists. The popularity of these ideas on 4chan has bubbled up into the mainstream.

Ibram X. Kendi identifies that structural racism killed Black people in east Buffalo, and then a gunman killed the survivors.


We Need to Take Back Our Privacy

Zeynep Fufekci writes that data is a form of surveillance…and our digital infrastructure has become the infrastructure of authoritarianism.

Under these conditions, requiring people to click “I accept” to lengthy legalese for access to functions that have become integral to modern life is a masquerade, not informed consent.

Technology is not going away. We can build a decentralized infrastructure.


The Magical 2.5 Seconds of Online Attention

A meta-analysis was conducted by a research firm that found the average attention span of internet users to be a magical 2.5 seconds. The research was conducted by examining more than 320 studies with 340,000 participants along with advertising material consisting of 3283 visual stimuli.

The report identifies this magical 2.5 seconds as DwellTime (which is the time users’ eyes are on the media). 

Please note, this is not a sign that people’s attention spans are getting shorter. More than a decade ago I was talking about the f-shaped pattern as people read online. Online readers quickly skim and scan online content and make decisions about the usefulness and truthfulness of the content in a blink of an eye.


What Nietzsche can teach us about embracing risk and failure in an age of technological comforts

Modern technology has given us increased control over most aspects of our lives. This safety through technology is certainly not a bad thing, but the lower risk and greater control intoxicate us.

Friedrich Nietzsche’s basic premise is that failure is not just an option, it is woven tightly into a life worth living. 

Take time for a personal inventory. Which of your devices and practices enable a life that experiences the world in ways and places not always engineered for our comfort?


Knowledge flows at the speed of trust

Harold Jarche on the connections between transparency, diversity, and openness. Organizations that are open, transparent, and cooperative are more resilient because they rely on people, not processes.

Openness enables transparency and knowledge-sharing, which fosters diversity of opinions, and these reinforce social networks. Over time, trust emerges.

Engage in reasonable and necessary risk-taking

Learning to assess risk is an essential skill for living. Understanding developmentally appropriate challenges is key to this process.

What is your risk tolerance?

We expect more from technology and less from each other.

Sherry Turkle

Be thankful that I didn’t even get to monkeypox. It might be something to pay attention to.

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