Addicted to info

It's all very Working Girl, she said...

I LIKE Thursdays – it’s the day Stylist lands at the office.

Despite my best intentions, I never get around to reading it cover to cover on said day. I dip in and out at lunchtime and savour it for a weekend binge of magazine reading.

This week however, retiring to bed at 8pm full of cold afforded me an unusual time slot in which to indulge my habit.

As I settled under the covers I was thrown from my cosy reverie by the diagnosis of a problem I didn’t know I had: a lack of mindfulness.

Helen Foster and Alix Walker’s feature –Tweet Freedom- sent me into a shame spiral, cowering behind the pages at the spot-on accusation that I am a routinely “two-screening” – an activity which includes watching TV while faffing on a computer.

I thought back to the night before when I had six internet tabs open streaming music, a headphone clamped to one ear and the other half-listening to the billionth re-run of Scrubs.
Instead of congratulating myself for being a 21st Century woman, multi-tasking my way through cyber-world, according to Foster and Walker I am nothing more than a statistic spiralling towards a life of Divided Attention Disorder – an inability to concentrate on more than one thing at once.

True, maybe. But in my defence, having been introduced to the internet at the age of ten, my generation is guilty because this lifestyle is the norm.

Take a typical morning.  The first 20 minutes of my average day is spent reading Metro to catch up on national news. Then I get out my iPhone, check the BBC app for up-to-date info, Daily Mail for gratuitous show-biz gossip and round off with a few flicks through Facebook’s mini-feed.

As a journalist, it’s easy to justify my obsessive compulsive news checking as dedication to current affairs but in fact, it’s more to do with an habitual need to be constantly up-to-date with everyone and everything.

Even as I read the Freedom feature, at the point where it suggested I couldn’t concentrate on one thing at once, the sound of my phone vibrating literally made me flinch.  With a Herculean effort, I told myself I must not read it before the end of the article but the mere fact I had to chastise my inner info-junkie speaks volumes in itself.

Life is supposed to be about experience but I characterise an age-group guilty of an addiction to MePhones and Crackberrys, who are too busy updating their Facebook status.

According to research, we spend eight hours and 48 minutes a day absorbing media. It’s impossible to keep track of everything, so why are we wasting so much time trying to do so?

Despite working in an industry where internet use is mandatory, I don’t want to be ruled by various technological appendages, because there’s something to be said for going home, not sitting at yet another computer screen, and reading that book that’s been collecting dust on my nightstand for eight (eight!) months.

Oh – and the text message I received? It was an MMS from my best friend, who was out at a craft night in London, interacting with people and playing with glitter and glue.

I would rather be there than on Facebook any day.

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