Friday, November 30, 2012

Byte Suckers: How endless browsing kills attention

I have come to detest my habit of browsing endlessly for news, articles and cross-interest scanning of social media streams across laptop, mobile and tablets. At the end of the day, there is still no tiredness. In fact the more hours I stay up to work the satiation for sucking more bytes increases. Looks like it is more addictive than nicotine.

What this does to me is nothing comprehensible. True to the nature of bytes all that is consumed is binary form most of them garble my memory. Given the side effects of distractions, makes me rude to answer partners or fellow colleagues while scanning posts and not looking up, and in the end meaningless meanderings to prolong work which otherwise could have allowed me to spend time with my kids.

Why am I confessing this ? Don't know. Could be a start to move free from being a byte sucker to a meaningful information seeker and plant myself with few trusted knowledge providers and be watching their intellectual space.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Vocal Shrills: Easy to let viewers suffer

Take Indian news channels for example. They are full of rhetoric, opinions, sways of editor/host choices to steer the debate, grab a vocal share, and less of research, rigor, analysis, explanations, and multiple view points.

In this clutter, I often wonder if I would subconsciously absorb the wrong traits in my work areas. As a parent, I often fear I will let my kids view such debates (in fact they are arguments flawed by concocted phrases), they will develop the mindless egoistic shrill, uncultured interruptions, curt cut-offs that are insensitive, inject a tangent that deflects any in-depth introspection. Instead of understand and learning that the required skills of putting in efforts to understand a topic, reading literature, doing their homework before seeking views of others and the necessity to have conviction to understand multiple views is a necessity for their excellence.

As a child, our parents used to encourage us to listen to BBC radio for news coverage quality and to listen to cricket commentaries for extempore art of speech. It should be viewed in the context that for most of us, English is a secondary language. It is difficult to use the language as a primary choice due to "mother tongue influence (MTI as is measured)". Hence continuous exposure have made most of us become good in English speaking and pronunciation and to hide MTI creatively.  Can this be said of the news channels today as a learning tool ?

Another most often suggested and encouraged medium in childhood is to read the editorial of news papers. All of us slowly veer towards the authors we like and invariably these articles are incisive and with precise language to communicate the subject. Having followed them on a regular basis for many years that we come to admire and adapt in our lives. Can the time of watching these mindless, superficial analytical debates be devoted back to reading ? Wouldn't the news channels over a continous period of time have a similar effect on our psyche ? Can we allow ourselves intellectually sell to business interests and lose sight of a generation growing on shrill, shouts and behaviors that are detrimental for a good network ?

We are often coached by teachers, peers, mentors, parents and advisers about the behavioral errors and blind spots. We always come to expect from others smiling behaviour, positive body language, warm greetings, polite utterances, patient listening and are reminded to value others opinion and thoughts. Are any of these followed in the debates happening anywhere in the TV mediums ?

I didn't have TV for past 3 months and gained a lot than miss any of the frenzied updates and minute by minute happenings that are rolled again and again or content scraped from earlier footage to create time wasters.

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