The web brought us great things, but we still need to learn how to deal with partial attention and information overload. I certainly feel I could be more productive than I am.
We need to learn to work in flows, to follow our creative stream and attention. We need IT tools that help us with that. We need non-IT tools as well.
We are in the same situation we were after the birth of fast food. We are overweight and less healthy. This is why slowfood was born.
I recently came across several tools (IT and not IT) that help you focus and reflect, that are elegant and minimalist, that respect your intimacy. I believe this is part of a larger trend towards a reflection on how can we promote intimacy, silence, attention, in a web2 world characterised by total openness, information overload, continuous partial attention.

  • Tools like Instapaper.com and Pinboard.in try to help you reading when you have time, esp. combined with Kindle.
  • The pomodoro technique helps staying focussed
  • And the lack of multitasking on the iPad (as well as its simplicity) is often perceived as an advantage rather than a drawback.

And finally, at the Hub Brussels today Norma brought a great thing: a small puppy, red or green, that you put on your desk to show whether you want to chat or not. It’s like the skype icon – actually the skype icon could be a very powerful tool to use across device. We decided to call it hubatar – see image above.

While I love co-working spaces, I believe we need to think and create IT tools, non IT tools and behavours that account for attention, intimacy and silence management. I would like to start a reflection on this, possibly at the CoWorking Europe event, or in the Hub Brussels.

So what does it mean for technology? well it means that the next big thing after web2 will be about attention, silence and intimacy management tools to keep you in the flow. And that they will be in the computer, on the web, on the mobile, on any IT device (a big thing will be in cars, to avoid accident). And crucially, it will be in non-IT things, like design, furniture. And it will also be a method, a culture.

I am sure this is not new, somebody has thought of this already.

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