When you spend large amount of time connected to the Internet, how you see the world starts to change. It has to.
With a mobile device now serving as an additional appendage for most people, access to information is only an arm’s reach away. While this modern luxury is mind-blowing in so many ways, it’s also life-changing.
What I mean is that the mind tends to latch onto whatever ideas and images are the most potent. An endless scroll of visually appealing updates from humans you know is more appealing than reading a physical book about someone you don’t. Scintillating tales that may or may not be true–and most likely aren’t true–can be more compelling than a boring old conversation with a real-life friend.
But there’s something so life-affirming with real-life conversations, whether in the flesh or on a phone. There’s automatic feedback. There’s the opportunity to learn immediately from your actions. There’s the benefit of getting emotional support and real-time validation.
Online, it’s not like this, especially with the rapid-fire news cycle. With news stories that flash by in the blink of an eye, it’s hard to keep up. Scratch that, it’s impossible to keep up. A friend’s getting engaged. Wait, no! Someone in the British royal family is getting engaged! Does a British royal count as a friend? I sure feel like I know them well at times! Why do I have so much emotion invested in someone I’ll never meet? It feels important. All my friends are talking about it online, so it must be important.
This is one of thousands of examples I could share about how our attention can be hijacked online at a moment’s notice.